China is offering exploration rights on six oil and gas blocks to private firms in a pilot program aimed at opening the nation’s energy resources to non-state entities.
The Ministry of Land and Resources announced Tuesday that the trial program would offer access to onshore blocks in the remote northwest Xinjiang region, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Potential bidders, which are required to have at least 1 billion yuan (US$161 million) in net assets, will be encouraged to cooperate with state-owned enterprises already active in the region.
The blocks are located in several areas of Xinjiang, including two in the Tarim Basin, a major production zone for China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC).
The announcement marks a step forward for promised reforms of China’s state-dominated oil-and-gas sector, the Journal noted.
CNPC and Sinopec Group currently control most of the nation’s onshore oil and gas reserves.
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