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PetroChina expands global oil trading

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China's refining and fuel distribution company wants to get a bigger piece of the global energy trading business. If they can pull this off, it may be huge. Petrochina ( PTR , quote ) is creating a network of global offices in order to pull away from its traditional domestic refining operations. As the company admits, refining oil has become an extremely low-profit business in the face of $100 crude combined with rigid Chinese fuel price caps. Last quarter alone, PTR lost $940 million simply doing its state-mandated job. Chinese gas prices climbed maybe 6% last quarter -- as ordained by Beijing -- while Brent crude costs soared 25% on the open markets. On the other hand, PTR already does about $100 billion a year trading energy products internationally. Management hopes the new offices in New York, London and Singapore should double that business over the next three to four years. If PTR can pull this off, it will be an important change for a world-class company -- they will no longer be tied completely to domestic pricing and the vagaries of government agendas. And oil and chemical trading is huge business. Just ask the expert commodity traders at Glencore, who are about to cash out as that company moves closer and closer to its IPO.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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