China's Sinopec suspends top officials at trading arm

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Sinopec (600028.SS) has suspended two top officials at its trading arm Unipec and is evaluating the details related to certain crude oil transactions that have incurred some losses, the Chinese state oil company said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Unipec’s President Chen Bo speaks at the 34th Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC) in Singapore September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Unipec’s President Chen Bo, an industry veteran who helped the company become one of the world’s largest oil traders, has been suspended along with the senior Communist Party representative at the company, Zhan Qi, Sinopec said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

“The Company was informed that Unipec incurred some losses during certain crude oil transactions due to the oil price drop. The Company is currently in the process of evaluating the details of such circumstance,” Sinopec said.

Reuters earlier reported Chen Bo and Zhan Qi had been suspended after Unipec suffered losses, citing five sources. Neither Chen nor Zhan could immediately be reached for comment.

Vice president Chen Gang has been appointed to handle the company’s administrative work, Sinopec added in the filing.

“The government inspectors were looking into the company’s operations for the past few years … one of the problems they found was the severe trading losses in the second half of this year because of wrong market judgment,” one of the sources said.

The sources did not refer to any wrongdoing on the part of the two men.

Benchmark Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices CLc1 LCOc1 have fallen by about

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