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Report: PetroChina seeks foothold in emerging markets

PetroChina Co. Ltd.'s oil and gas trading arm plans to set up business in West Africa, Brazil and Pakistan by acquiring petrol stations and fuel storage facilities in these countries as part of a major global expansion drive, Reuters reported Dec. 18, citing "three senior oil industry executives briefed on the plans."

PetroChina aims to gain a foothold in the emerging markets and grow market share locally, sourcing fuel supplies from its refineries. It also aims to take on its international rivals Vitol and Trafigura, which have recently spent billions to buy up gas stations in Pakistan, Turkey and Africa, the report said.

The new investments are expected to start in 2018. The executives did not disclose how much PetroChina will invest.

The expansion drive is led by Tian Jinghui, a vice president at PetroChina, who took over the helm at Chinaoil, PetroChina's trading vehicle. PetroChina, is a listed unit of China National Petroleum Corp. and Asia's largest oil and gas producer, said Reuters.

Demand for fuel in the target regions is growing faster than the global average, the executives said. In West Africa, PetroChina has marked out Nigeria and Angola, they said.

Li Li, energy research director at ICIS China, a consulting company providing energy market analysis, said the business expansion in PetroChina's target markets aligns with the investment plans under Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative, China Daily reported Dec. 20.