PetroChina to Expand in US Market

November 22, 2013

After moving its headquarters from New Jersey to Houston earlier this year, PetroChina International America, Inc is now primed to expand its trade in oil products, and more importantly, plant a firmer footing in North America by acquiring its own refining facilities, China Daily reported on November 22.

For seven years since 2005, Li Shaolin, president of PetroChina International America, Inc, had been running American operations from New Jersey, but the advantages that Houston — the so-called "Oil Capital of the World" — had to offer were too big a draw to resist.

Li moved headquarters there in March, taking offices at the prestigious One Briar Lake Plaza in Houston's Westchase District adjacent to the energy corridor.

"We signed a 10-year lease," he said. "I am confident we will expand so much that in three years we will need 140 employees to run our American operation."

Indeed, since March, Li has increased his Houston staff to over 50. "And we are still in the process of hiring more people, including traders, market analysts and accountants," Li said.

"As the capital of oil, Houston is home to pretty much all the major petroleum companies in the world. Upstream, midstream and downstream operations of the petroleum industry are all in Houston, all and every aspect of the petroleum business is here, and it is truly quite convenient to conduct business with clients and partners," he said.

According to Li, PetroChina International America is mostly doing business in midstream and downstream sectors involving refining, pipeline and storage tankers in the entire Americas region — from Canada and the northern US to Latin America. Its business has been growing steadily since it first started, with an average yearly growth of 27 percent — doubling every three to four years.

"We basically buy petroleum products at Point A, move them to Point B and do some processing for added value, and then move them to Point C to sell," Li explained.

"Currently, our daily trade volume of petroleum products (crude oil, refined oil, natural gas and petrochemicals) is about 1.5 million barrels a day. For 2013, we will have a total trade volume of 75-to-80 million tons — the equivalent of the total production volume of Daqing oilfield in one year," Li said.

In the next few years Li has two major missions he would like to accomplish. Strengthen his trade team and invest in a refinery, either through a merger and acquisition or by participation in a joint venture with a North American company.

Owning a refinery is Li Shaolin's next big dream, and he's quite determined to pursue this goal because, as he says, a "refinery is an important platform to facilitate the development and expansion of our petroleum trade." And Houston is the new command center to make that dream come true.

Copyright: China Daily, 2013