China's State Council released a circular on its Web site on May 13 encouraging private investment in more industries, including oil and gas. The circular stated that the Chinese government will promote private capital entering the oil and gas exploration and exploitation market in cooperation with state-owned companies. It will also support private capital investment and stake holdings in storage and pipeline facilities of crude oil, natural gas and fuel products. There will be more private investment opportunities in the coal-bed methane, shale gas and gas depot sectors as well.
Although similar policies were instituted in 2005, they did not provide many opportunities for private investment in the oil and gas sectors. The new circular offers clearer descriptions of which sectors will encourage private investment.