Sinopec: Refining its Strategy
China's oil industry, with majority ownership vested in the government, had engaged in an "equity oil" strategy for the past few years--acquiring equity interests in oil producing nations including Sudan, Angola, and Iran. Outside critics, however, suggested that the Chinese companies could buy oil in the highly fungible global marketplace. But Sinopec, the nations largest refiner, was one of the three companies (together with PetroChina and CNOOC) engaged in the equity oil play. With China's energy demands swelling--especially petroleum of which it had limited reserves--Sinopec was struggling to increase output rapidly enough to keep pace with the rapid growth of their automobile sector. And it had to make money soon.