China Petrochemical Corp. posted a net profit of $9.63 billion in 2007.

Sinopec, the leading oil refiner, made a net profit of $6.97 billion in 2006, said Cai Xiyou, a senior company executive.

The profit can be attributed to cost control, resources integration and technological innovation, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Analysts said the natural gas sector became an engine of Sinopec’s growth as supply shortages pushed up gas prices.

Sinopec started construction of its large natural gas project to transmit gas from southwest China’s Sichuan province to Shanghai in last August. The Puguang field in Sichuan is one of the largest and most profitable fields in China.

Despite soaring international crude oil prices, China has kept domestic refined oil prices much lower, putting its oil refineries into the red. In return, the government gave Sinopec a subsidy to compensate for its losses at the end of 2006.

The oil giant said it will look overseas for oil assets in the future.

(United Press International)