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February 24, 2010

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More companies get oil product licenses

FIVE more domestic companies have been granted wholesale licenses for oil products as China further throws open the fuel distribution market to the private sector.

They include the Qinhuangdao unit of China Marine Bunker (PetroChina) Co, the nation's major bunker oil supplier, and four other companies from the private sector operating from Hebei, Fujian, Shandong provinces and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, according to a notice posted on the Website of the Ministry of Commerce.

The firm from Inner Mongolia is a unit of Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal Co, which has B shares listed in Shanghai.

The ministry also issued a license for refined oil storage to Longkou Huanhai Petrochemical, a private sector concern in Shandong.

China relaxed controls on the fuel wholesale market in 2006, the fifth anniversary of its entry to the World Trade Organization, as part of its commitment as a member. The commerce ministry released certain requirements, ranging from capacity to registered capital, for companies which plan to apply for permits.

A number of companies have won permits since then.

However, as crude and refined oil imports remained restricted and as oil majors like Sinopec Corp and PetroChina Co dominate the domestic fuel refining sector, independent traders are still mostly at the mercy of these state giants.


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