China Opens Oil, Gas Market to Private, Foreign Firms

Sunset at Daqing Oilfield, China's largest oil production base, in Daqing, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. (Xinhua/Xie Jianfei)

BEIJING (Xinhua) — China will fully open up its market for oil and gas exploration and production to private and foreign companies, the Ministry of Natural Resources said Thursday.

Both domestic and foreign companies registered in China with net assets of no less than 300 million yuan (about 42.86 million U.S. dollars) will be eligible to obtain oil and gas mining rights, Ling Yueming, vice minister of natural resources said at a press conference.

The new policy will take effect from May 1.

The country’s oil and gas market has been dominated by state-owned companies. Foreign companies could only enter the market by working with Chinese firms in the past.

The opening-up of the market will break up the state monopolies, further stimulate market vitality and help ensure domestic energy supplies, Ling said.