By Chen Aizhu and Muyu Xu
SINGAPORE/BEIJING, Aug 27 (Reuters) - PetroChina Co 601857.SS, 0857.HK pledged on Thursday to cut emissions to near zero by 2050, as it reported a swing into a net loss of 29.98 billion yuan ($4.36 billion) in the first half on lower oil prices and a demand hit from the COVID-19 crisis.
Asia's largest oil and gas producer pledged to boost clean energy investments over the next five years, like global peers like BP BP.L and Total TOTF.PA, in an effort to tackle climate change.
In the company's first mention of a greenhouse gas emission target, company president Duan Liangwei said PetroChina aims for near-zero emissions by 2050, and plans to invest in geothermal, wind and solar power, as well as pilot hydrogen projects.
The firm plans to spend 3 billion to 5 billion yuan annually on sectors including solar, hydrogen and natural gas power generation in the first few years of the 2021-2025 period, rising to 10 billion a year, said another planning executive.
The first-half loss compares to a profit of 28.42 billion yuan a year earlier, according to the firm's filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
"The company faced unprecedented challenges in production and operations because of the steep fall in global oil prices and shrinking domestic oil and gas demand," Chairman Dai Houliang said in the filing.
First-half revenue fell 22% to 929 billion yuan.
Crude oil output rose 5.2% to 475.4 million barrels, while natural gas production was up 9.4% to 2.15 trillion cubic feet, as the state giant sustained domestic drilling to safeguard national supply security.
The robust growth in gas production was in line with a pledge earlier this year to priorities the production of the lower-carbon fuel, the price of which is more insulated versus oil.
Its Hong Kong listed shares were down 30% so for this year versus a drop of 22% in the broader Hang Seng Index .HSI.
($1 = 6.8833 Chinese yuan renminbi)
PetroChina's net incomehttps://tmsnrt.rs/3aUjrEs
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore and Muyu Xu in Beijing; Editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey)
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