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Sinopec Appoints Ex-Cnooc Head Fu Chengyu to New Chairman Role

China National Offshore Oil Corp. President Fu Chengyu
Fu Chengyu, chairman of Cnooc Ltd. and president of China National Offshore Oil Corp. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

China appointed Fu Chengyu to the newly created position of chairman at China Petrochemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, after he presided over a fivefold profit increase at smaller state-controlled oil producer Cnooc Ltd.

Sinopec Group, as China Petrochemical is known, set up a board of directors and will appoint a president separately, according to a statement posted on its website yesterday. Su Shulin, its former president, has taken a government post in Fujian province, according to the statement.

Cnooc’s profit was 54.4 billion yuan ($8.3 billion) last year, up from 11.5 billion yuan in 2003, when Fu became chairman. The stock price has climbed more than sevenfold in Hong Kong under his tenure, twice as much as Sinopec. Undeterred by a failed bid for Unocal Corp. in 2005, Fu has since led the Beijing-based company to $17.6 billion of global acquisitions to supply the biggest energy-consuming nation.

“Fu is a very well-respected manager of an integrated oil company,” Peter O’Malley, head of the Asia-Pacific energy and resources group at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong, said by phone. “He has strategic vision and is the right person to take Sinopec to the next level.”

Fu will also become chairman of Sinopec Group’s Hong Kong-listed unit China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Liu Xiaobiao, a Beijing-based spokesman at Cnooc parent China National Offshore Oil Corp., said yesterday. Fu quit his posts as president of China National Offshore and chairman of Cnooc, Liu said.

The Sinopec Group statement did not mention management changes at China Petroleum.

‘Well Respected’

China National Petroleum Corp. Vice President Wang Yilin, also a non-executive director at PetroChina Co., will fill Fu’s posts at China National Offshore and Cnooc, Liu said. Mao Zefeng, a Beijing-based spokesman for PetroChina, declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

Fu, who turns 60 this year, has a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California. He joined China National Offshore in 1982, according to his biography on Cnooc’s website.

Fu will “further lift the company’s international profile and enhance its market development,” Sinopec Group said yesterday, citing Fu’s remarks to an internal conference attended by Su and government and company officials.

Cnooc rose 0.2 percent to HK$20.75 in Hong Kong yesterday, and Sinopec gained 0.6 percent to HK$8.19. PetroChina fell 1.2 percent to HK$12. The benchmark Hang Seng advanced 0.5 percent.

Fujian Job

Su, who’s also chairman of the listed company, is now Fujian province’s deputy party secretary, the Fujian Daily reported on April 3, citing an unidentified government official. Huang Wensheng, a Beijing-based spokesman at Sinopec, didn’t reply to two phone calls seeking comment.

“The adjustment in Sinopec Group’s management reflects the trust by the central government in Su and Fu,” Sinopec Group said. The government told Sinopec to maintain “stable operations” and work safety, according to the statement.

Former Chinese energy company executives who have taken government jobs include Hainan provincial Governor Wei Liucheng, Cnooc chairman before Fu’s appointment. PetroChina Chairman Jiang Jiemin was previously a vice governor of Qinghai province.

Zhou Yongkang, China’s public security chief and a member of the Politburo was a former president at China National Petroleum.

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