CNPC (Hong Kong) yesterday launched its long-awaited share placement, raising $611 million to help finance its purchase of the Leng Jiapu oilfield project. The size of the sale, managed by ABN-AMRO Rothschild, was increased to 260 million shares after the original offer of 200 million was more than three times subscribed. The shares were sold at $2.35 each, representing a 11.3 per cent discount to yesterday's close of $2.65 - down 7.5 cents from a day earlier. An ABN-AMRO Rothschild official said he was pleased with the outcome given recent market volatility. Most of the demand came from Hong Kong, he said. The shares represent 5.27 per cent of the enlarged issued share capital. The main shareholder, mainland oil giant China National Petroleum Corp, will have its interest in the company diluted from 53.3 per cent to 51.1 per cent. Company officials earlier said CNPC planned to buy more than 50 per cent of the Leng Jiapu project in Northeast China from Liaohe Petroleum Exploration Bureau, part of the CNPC Corp group. The project is expected to be a big income contributor to the company. It has enough oil reserves for 20-25 years of development and its fixed assets are estimated to be worth more than $1 billion. CNPC shares have been a darling among investors betting on likely asset injections, pushing its shares up more than 673 per cent, from 73 cents at the start of the year to a record close of $5.65 on August 25. The company plans to speed up growth through acquisitions.