The predecessor of CPECC was the former Capital Construction Department of the Ministry of Petroleum Industry. It founded a foreign economic cooperation enterprise with the approval of the State Council in 1980. The enterprise was one of the first eight large companies in China entering the international market.
In 1998, after CNPC had obtained the approval of State Economic and Trade Commission, the enterprise was incorporated as the China Petroleum Engineering & Construction (Group) Corporation under which were the first, sixth and seventh construction corporations and Huadong Prospecting and Design Research Institute of CNPC.
In 2000, the corporation became the wholly-owned subsidiary of the CNPC Services & Engineering Ltd., and controlled CNPC Huadong Prospecting and Design Research Institute.
The corporation has absorbed the first and seventh construction corporations of CNPC, the Dalian Branch of Engineering Design Co., Ltd. and the Design Institute of Urumqi Petrochemical Complex successively through internal specialization restructuring since 2008, and has been incorporated as the China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation.