China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) expects to resolve the thorny issue of petroleum product pricing with the central government soon, according to president Wang Tianpu. Speaking after the company's announcement of a 17.36 per cent year-on-year rise in interim net profit to 19.65 billion yuan, Mr Wang said the company had been working with the government to come up with a solution, after international crude prices surged past US$70 a barrel. 'We are thinking of a way out that will not hurt other industries, worsen inflation or increase our costs,' he said, adding the company would strive to lower costs by cutting staff and adjusting crude procurement strategy. Industry sources said Sinopec and PetroChina - which together control more than 80 per cent of the nation's refining volume - were asking the central government to consider subsidising petroleum users to help relieve the oil refiners' cost pressure. Beijing's control of crude oil prices leaves the bottom lines of refiners at the mercy of government policy.