China's government has appointed a senior oil industry executive as the country's top energy official, state-run media China Energy News reported on Wednesday.
Zhang Jianhua, president of China's largest oil and gas group CNPC, has been named director of the National Energy Administration, according to China Energy News, becoming the first oil industry executive to take that role.
Zhang, 54, has spent most of his career in the refining industry, including over a decade of work at the Shanghai Gaoqiao refinery before being promoted to the post of vice president at the country's largest refiner, Sinopec Corp in 2003, the report said.
A CNPC spokesman said he couldn't immediately confirm the news. An NEA press official didn't immediately answer Reuters' call seeking comment.
The appointment comes nearly two months after Beijing placed the NEA's former head, Nur Bekri, a top ethnic Uighur official and former governor of the restive western region of Xinjiang, under investigation for suspected graft.
The NEA is one of the dozens of bureaus under the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's macro-economic planner and a super ministry.
The administration maps out industry policies including five-year development plans for the oil, gas, coal and renewable sectors. It also administers the national strategic petroleum reserve.
Elsewhere at the NEA, Li Fanrong, previously president of China's offshore oil and gas firm CNOOC Ltd, is a deputy director.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)