Caixin
Mar 03, 2021 07:42 AM
CHINA

Another Executive at China’s Largest Oil Field Probed for Graft

The Changqing oil field has been rattled by a series of graft probes since 2013.
The Changqing oil field has been rattled by a series of graft probes since 2013.

A senior official at the Changqing oil field of state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) was placed under investigation in the latest of a series of graft scandals that have haunted the country’s largest oil field for nearly a decade.

Tang Xin, chief coordinator and head of the production operation department of CNPC’s Changqing oil field, was detained in mid-January, separate sources told Caixin. Investigators raided Tang’s home and found millions of yuan of cash allegedly obtained from bribes, sources said.

Tang, 52, is a veteran of the Changqing oil field. He was head of the No. 6 oil drilling plant, the operator of one of the field’s most productive blocks, before he was promoted to chief coordinator, Caixin learned.

Located in Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, the Changqing oil field is a subsidiary of CNPC’s listed arm PetroChina Co. Ltd. (601857.SH). The oil field started operation in the 1970s and has proven reserves of 542 million tons of oil and gas. In 2019, the field produced 24.2 million tons of crude and 41.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas, making it the largest onshore oil and gas field in China.

The Changqing field has been under the shadow of graft probes since 2013, when senior CNPC executives including Wang Daofu, former general manager of the Changqing oil field, were brought down for corruption.

A series of investigations later led to the high-profile downfall of Zhou Yongkang, the country’s onetime national security czar who built up an extensive graft network in the oil industry as he worked his way up into power.

More corruption cases were uncovered at the Changqing oil field in following years. In 2018, Mao Longjun, a former head of the oil field’s business cooperation department, was detained for taking bribes. The next year, two senior executives including the oil field’s former party head Qu Guangxue and a former deputy general manager Yang Zaisheng, were placed under graft investigations.

In January 2020, Zhu Tianshou, a retired chief engineer of the Changqing oil field, was investigated for taking bribes.

In October, more than 30 workers at the oil field, along with several local government employees, were detained on suspicion of stealing oil in the latest scandal that spotlighted loopholes at the site.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com).

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