Date
18 August 2017
CNPC's Canadian units are facing an anti- corruption shake-up. Two senior officials will be replaced by an executive from Beijing. Photo: Bloomberg
CNPC's Canadian units are facing an anti- corruption shake-up. Two senior officials will be replaced by an executive from Beijing. Photo: Bloomberg

China graft probe hits CNPC Canada operations

China’s corruption investigation that has already felled dozens of officials in the mainland is shaking up the Canadian operations of state-run China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), the Wall Street Journal reported.

As a result, a US$1 billion oil-sands project is in limbo.

Last month, the head of a key CNPC subsidiary in Canada was ordered back to China and has since disappeared from public view, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, CNPC’s top representative in the country was removed. The two will be replaced by an executive who will be sent from Beijing.

A Canadian government official said his government is “aware of these investigations being conducted by Chinese authorities into Chinese officials”.

However, there is no reason to believe any Canadians are involved or being investigated, the official said.

The two Chinese executives who recently left their posts helped to make billions of dollars worth of investment commitments. Both were board members of trade organizations in energy-rich Alberta and had enough clout to summon meetings with senior Canadian lawmakers at short notice, the report said.

One of them, Li Zhiming, led Brion Energy Corp., a subsidiary of CNPC’s listed unit PetroChina Co., to acquire the 40 percent that it doesn’t already own of an oil-sands project known as Dover for C$1.32 billion (US$1.23 billion). That deal, with Calgary-based Athabasca Oil Corp., has yet to close.

The other, Margaret Jia, had worked at CNPC Canada for nearly a decade and served as its chief representative.

Neither Li nor Jia has been accused of any wrongdoing. 

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