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The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) was established by China’s State Council (cabinet) in 1982, to serve as the Chinese partner of international oil companies exploring and extracting oil and gas in Chinese waters.   The corporation and its numerous subsidiaries have grown steadily and strongly, to become one of the world’s largest “integrated” oil companies, working in all aspects of the industry, from upstream exploration, to refining, processing, storage and retailing.

In 1994, the CNOOC made its first venture overseas, joining the U.S. company, ARCO, in a project in Indonesian waters.  In 2002, it expanded its Indonesian operations by buying the interests of the Spanish company, Repsol.  The same year, CNOOC bought into upstream production off the coast of Australia.  In 2005 it began to operate in Vietnam and Burma.   The following year, it moved beyond Asia, starting operations in offshore Nigeria.  It has since also begun production in Iraq (2010) and the U.S.A. (2011).

CNOOC is a “state-owned company” in that the Chinese state owns a controlling stake in it.  However, in 2001 it was listed on the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges, and shares in the company are owned by private and institutional investors across the world.

In 2010, CNOOC reported revenues of 354.8 billion Chinese yuan (US$ 56 billion) and profits of 97.7 billion yuan. (US$ 15.4 billion)