(EnergyAsia, March 20 2013, Wednesday) — China has appointed the chairman of its largest oil and gas producer to lead and transform a powerful agency overseeing the country’s non-financial assets worth some 70 trillion yuan. (US$1=6.25 yuan).

Jiang Jiemin, who has been credited with leading  the expansion of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and subsidiary PetroChina, will replace Wang Yong as head of the ministry-level Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (Sasac). The agency owns a wide range of assets including energy and mining.

Mr Wang was promoted to become a state councillor in a high-level reshuffle to coincide with the transition of the new government under President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on March 14.

Mr Jiang became chairman of listed unit PetroChina in 2007 and was made chairman of CNPC four years later. Under him, both companies expanded their oil and gas business, and became major players on the world stage as they aggressively acquired assets abroad.

His appointment to Sasac dovetails Premier Li’s pledge to deepen economic reforms to allow private enterprise a greater role in managing China’s growing wealth while shrinking the government’s involvement.

PetroChina has confirmed Mr Jiang’s resignation from the company and CNPC as chairman and board member on March 18. Former vice chairman Zhou Jiping has been named as his successor in both companies.