Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2007 (Revised November 2008)

Sinopec: Refining its Strategy

by Richard H.K. Vietor and Julia Galef


China's oil industry, with majority ownership vested in the government, had engaged in an "equity oil" strategy for the past few years-acquiring equity interests in oil producing nations including Sudan, Angola, and Iran. Outside critics, however, suggested that the Chinese companies could buy oil in the highly fungible global marketplace. But Sinopec, the nation's largest refiner, was one of the three companies (together with PetroChina and CNOOC) engaged in the equity oil play. With China's energy demands swelling-especially petroleum of which it had limited reserves-Sinopec was struggling to increase output rapidly enough to keep pace with the rapid growth of their automobile sector. And it had to make money soon.

Keywords: Non-Renewable Energy; Equity; Foreign Direct Investment; Growth and Development Strategy; Demand and Consumers; State Ownership; Energy Industry; China;


Vietor, Richard H.K., and Julia Galef. "Sinopec: Refining its Strategy." Harvard Business School Case 708-018, September 2007. (Revised November 2008.)