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China's oil majors feel the pinch of low prices

After years of rapid growth, China's oil majors are feeling the pain from low oil prices as they are being forced to slash spending and delay unprofitable new projects at home.

China's big three oil producers - Petrochina, Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc) - have spent big over the past decade fuelling an expansion abroad and at home.  The companies have taken significant stakes in the world's largest oil plays, from Iraq's conventional oilfields to Brazil's offshore. While at home, high oil prices have allowed the companies to start producing from more complex and expensive oil and gas fields and open new unconventional and deep-water frontiers.  But the companies' combined capital expenditures (capex) rose seven-fold over the last decade, from about $10 billion in 2004 to around $70bn in 2014. In the process, the companies' costs and b

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