Sinopec’s front woman in the US

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By MAY ZHOU in Houston mayzhou@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

As the head of Sinopec USA’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice, He Su­juan’s main role is re­la­tion­ship builder — to fos­ter Sinopec’s re­la­tions with the pub­lic, gov­ern­ment and in­vestors. On the other hand, as pres­i­dent of Unipec Amer­ica Inc, He Su­juan is also a busi­ness­woman who knows how to run a com­pany.

Look­ing back on her time in the US, He said, “The most im­por­tant thing is to ad­e­quately uti­lize hu­man re­sources. I feel lucky that I re­cruited and built a very ta­lented team here in the US. They have vi­sion, pas­sion and tal­ent. They have helped Sinopec dis­cover many busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties which helped us to de­velop our busi­ness quickly and pro­mote our im­age here in the US.”

Ac­cord­ing to He, 60 per­cent of Sinopec’s nearly 100 em­ploy­ees in the US are lo­cals, and she ex­pects that ra­tio to in­crease in the fu­ture. “Af­ter all, the lo­cal peo­ple know bet­ter about lo­cal mar­ket,” she said.

Sinopec USA’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice was es­tab­lished in 2002 to help im­ple­ment the par­ent com­pany’s over­seas de­vel­op­ment strat­egy. A lit­tle more than 10 years later, un­der its um­brella, seven branches — in­clud­ing New York, Wash­ing­ton, Houston and Ok­la­homa City — have been es­tab­lished across the US in busi­nesses rang­ing from up­stream ex­plo­ration and de­vel­op­ment to re­finer­ies, R&D, oil prod­ucts, equip­ment and petro­chem­i­cals.

Head­quar­tered in Bei­jing, Sinopec Group is a large petroleum and petro­chem­i­cal en­ter­prise es­tab­lished in July 1998 from the for­mer China Petro­chem­i­cal Cor­po­ra­tion. In 2013, it ranked fourth on the For­tune Global 500 list and first among Chi­nese com­pa­nies.

With a reg­is­tered cap­i­tal of $30 bil­lion, Sinopec’s rev­enues reached $411.68 bil­lion in 2012. The gov­ern­ment holds a con­trol­ling 75.84 per­cent in­ter­est.

With the goal of be­com­ing a world-class in­ter­na­tional en­ergy com­pany, Sinopec has been push­ing to ex­pand its over­seas op­er­a­tions and mar­kets, ac­tively seek­ing to ac­quire oil and gas re­sources.

In April 2012, Sinopec paid $2.44 bil­lion for a one-third stake in five of Devon En­ergy Corp’s ex­ploratory oil projects in the US. In Novem­ber, 2013, Sinopec agreed to pay $3.1 bil­lion for a 33 per­cent stake in Houston-based Apache Cor­po­ra­tion’s Egyp­tian oil and gas busi­ness.

Mean­while, it was also re­ported that Sinopec was in talks with Apache to buy a stake in the Kiti­mat ex­port project on Canada’s Pa­cific coast, a ven­ture Apache co-owns with Chevron.

Sinopec just opened an R&D branch in Houston in 2013. “We have a lot of up­stream projects in North Amer­ica, we need R&D to pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port for th­ese projects,” He said.

Unipec Amer­ica Inc was es­tab­lished in 2010 to ad­vance Sinopec’s North Amer­ica trade busi­ness and He Su­juan is its first and cur­rent pres­i­dent, a po­si­tion that has given her first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence and insight into the US en­ergy busi­ness.

“The re­cent rev­o­lu­tion in the tech­nol­ogy of shale gas and tight gas has made the US the world’s fo­cus of oil and gas growth. It’s es­ti­mated that the US will sur­pass Saudi Ara­bia to be­come the world’s largest oil pro­duc­ing coun­try by 2020,” he said.

“The US en­ergy mar­ket is full of op­por­tu­nity and plays an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant role in Sinopec’s over­seas de­vel­op­ment strat­egy,” He added, say­ing that Sinopec’s trade vol­ume in North Amer­ica grew to $2.4 bil­lion last year and is ex­pected to hit $2.53 bil­lion for 2013.

He brushes off the fact that she is one of only a hand­ful of women who hold com­mand­ing roles in the male­dom­i­nated en­ergy busi­ness. “I stud­ied oil re­fin­ing in col­lege,” she said. “I worked in a re­fin­ery af­ter grad­u­a­tion in a tech­ni­cal ca­pac­ity. Later I earned an MBA and started to work in plan­ning, and then worked in crude oil im­port. I just love what I do and here I am to­day,” she said.

He is also quick to praise the con­ducive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment in the US. “We will fully uti­lize those ad­van­tages to op­ti­mize our prod­uct chain and re­source al­lo­ca­tion to re­al­ize value pre­served growth.”

MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

He Su­juan, head of Sinopec USA’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice.

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