French oil and gas giant Total has bought petrol stations on the mainland from private entrepreneurs squeezed out by the domestic oil majors, according to media reports. Total recently acquired more than 20 stations in Liaoning province, Beijing Business Today quoted Zhao Youshan, the head of the oil distribution unit at the China Chamber of Commerce, as saying on Saturday. The chamber represents private entrepreneurs. Total's Beijing-based spokeswoman said the number of stations reported was inaccurate. The firm has a joint venture with state-backed oil and petrochemicals trading firm Sinochem Corp, which plans to set up 300 fuel stations in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Liaoning. They have another venture to build or acquire 200 stations in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. News of Total's acquisition came after the chamber lobbied for Beijing policymakers to require PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) to guarantee to sell 10 million to 20 million tonnes of fuel to private stations annually, amounting to 10 per cent of national consumption. The chamber said many private oil distributors were suffering losses as the state majors cut fuel supply to expand their retail market share. Sinopec, the country's largest fuel wholesaler, denied the charge. Sinopec and PetroChina together control two-thirds of fuel retail sales and half the country's 90,000 petrol stations. Some entrepreneurs have been putting their stations up for sale. But news that Beijing was considering the chamber's proposal saw many withhold the sale plans, a chamber spokesman said. The passing of the anti-monopoly law last week will give entrepreneurs ammunition to challenge the state giants when it takes effect on August 1 next year.