PetroChina is reportedly considering selling its stakes natural gas projects in Australia and oil sands in Canada to focus on projects with better returns in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, Reuters reported, citing sources with knowledge of the company’s plans.

PetroChina’s plan reportedly follows a similar strategic move by compatriot CNOOC Ltd, which was said to be preparing to withdraw from its operations in the UK, Canada and the US because of concerns the assets could become subject to sanctions.

The sales follow an internal review of PetroChina's global portfolio that started in 2021, sources said.

Unlike CNOOC Ltd’s sales, PetroChina’s divestments are driven more by the assets’ disappointing economics.

PetroChina hopes to sell some of these assets, which have incurred billions of dollars of losses and are in areas where the company cannot easily compete, in the next two years, the sources said.

The assets Down Under that could go under the hammer include the Chinese player’s stake in the Woodside Energy-operated undeveloped Browse gas asset and via Arrow Energy, which it acquired in 2010 in a joint venture with Shell. Arrow Energy has coal seam gas (coalbed methane) assets in Australia.

"PetroChina foresees great uncertainties ahead, being the smallest stake holder and has little leverage along the value chain as it has no ownership in the downstream Karratha gas plant," one source said in relation its interest in Browse.

An Arrow spokesperson told Reuters: “Investment decisions of our shareholders are a matter for them, and Arrow will not comment or speculate.”

The news agency also reported PetroChina as also looking to divest its 100%-owned producing Mackay River oil sands and Dover oil sands projects in Canada because of financial losses being incurred.

PetroChina has yet to comment on the touted sell-offs.