By an OGJ Online Correspondent
BEIJING, Oct. 26 -- China has tightened its controls over the construction of gasoline stations.
In a circular issued by the State Council, the government said all stations without business licenses or being built without approval from provincial economic and trade commissions will be ordered to stop business or stop construction.
The government will allow only China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) and PetroChina Co. to build future gasoline stations.
Only the foreign companies that invest highway construction are allowed to build gasoline stations in China. Such stations also need approval from the provincial authorities.
The government has also put the wholesale oil business under the control of Sinopec and PetroChina, saying the two companies should draft a development plan for that segment, a program that would be subject to State Economic and Trade Commission approval.
The government will assess the legitimacy of oil retail, wholesale, and storage companies yearly.
China has about 75,000 gasoline stations, down from 88,000 a year ago.