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China’s Leadership Shuffle at Big Oil Clears Path for Reform

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China is preparing to shuffle the leadership of its biggest oil companies, helping clear a path in a crucial area of the economy for President Xi Jinping as he plans his overhaul of the nation’s bloated state sector.

Changes to the top executives at China National Petroleum Corp., Sinopec Group and China National Offshore Oil Corp. could accelerate market-driven reform of the oil and gas industry. The new chairmen will also be challenged to steer the oil giants through Xi’s corruption crackdown, which has wracked the industry, and a tumble in global crude prices.