China’s state-run Sinopec suspends talks for Russia projects amid sanction concerns
"Exclusive: China's Sinopec pauses Russia projects, Beijing wary of sanctions -sources" 25 March 2022
China’s state-run Sinopec Group has suspended talks for a major petrochemical investment and a gas marketing venture in Russia, sources told Reuters, heeding a government call for caution as sanctions mount over the invasion of Ukraine.
The move by Asia’s biggest oil refiner to hit the brakes on a potentially half-billion-dollar investment in a gas chemical plant and a venture to market Russian gas in China highlights the risks, even to Russia’s most important diplomatic partner, of unexpectedly heavy Western-led sanctions.
Beijing has repeatedly voiced opposition to the sanctions, insisting it will maintain normal economic and trade exchanges with Russia, and has refused to condemn Moscow’s actions in Ukraine or call them an invasion.
But behind the scenes, the government is wary of Chinese companies running afoul of sanctions - it is pressing companies to tread carefully with investments in Russia, its second-largest oil supplier and third-largest gas provider.
Since Russia invaded a month ago, China’s three state energy giants - Sinopec, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) - have been assessing the impact of the sanctions on their multi-billion dollar investments in Russia, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. [...]