CNOOC taps into Nigerian resources
By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-10 06:33
The nation's biggest offshore oil producer, China National Offshore Oil Corp
(CNOOC) Limited, will pay US$2.3 billion for a stake in a Nigerian oil and
Hong Kong-listed CNOOC yesterday announced it had signed a definitive
agreement with South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd to acquire a 45 per cent working
interest in an offshore oil mining license OML 130 in the African country.
A woman walks past the headquarters of the
state-run energy firm China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) in
Beijing, in June 2005. China's largest gas and oil producer CNOOC said it
had agreed to buy a 45 percent stake in an oil block off the coast of
Nigeria for almost 2.3 billion dollars. [AFP]
The purchase will be funded by internal resources of CNOOC, the company said
in a statement.
Earlier yesterday, CNOOC had requested its stock to be suspended from trading
on the Hong Kong stock exchange pending an announcement of a "disclosable
transaction." The stock finished at HK$5.40 on Friday, having risen nearly 5
percent in the past three months.
The transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year, and
requires the approval from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) and the
Chinese Government, CNOOC said.
The block, operated by global oil company Total, contains the Akpo deepwater
field, which is set to come on-stream in the second half of 2008. CNOOC said it
would contribute capital expenditure of more than US$2 billion to develop the
The Akpo field, about 200 kilometres off the coast of Port Harcourt, will
pump 225,000 barrels a day of oil equivalent after 2008, or 9 per cent of
Nigeria's current production, according to operator Total SA.
When production peaks, likely in 2009, CNOOC's light oil entitlement from the
block will be nearly 79,000 barrels a day, said Yang Hua, CNOOC's chief
financial officer, during a conference call.
"The purchase of this interest in OML 130 helps CNOOC gain access to an oil
and gas field of huge interest and upside potential, located in one of the
world's largest oil and gas basins," said Fu Chengyu, chairman and chief
executive of the Beijing-based offshore oil producer.
"The acquisition is in line with our goal of creating shareholder value, and
it will add to our production targets and is within our pricing range," Yang
told reporters. "Before the Akpo field starts production in the first half of
2008 we'll have a very small dilution in earnings per share. But after that, it
will be one of the factors boosting earnings," Yang said.
CNOOC said it is paying US$4.60 per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) for the
main part of its Nigeria acquisition. "It is obviously a very attractive price,"
CNOOC was a leading contender among several bidders for the asset, sources
India's government blocked Oil and Natural Gas Corp's bid for a reported 45
percent stake in the field last month because of unspecified risks.
The Nigeria move marks another overseas thrust by CNOOC to secure overseas
reserves. CNOOC, which has made a string of overseas acquisitions in countries
including Indonesia and Australia, lost out in a US$18.5 billion cash bid for
Unocal last summer to US giant Chevron.
Gordon Kwan, director of China Oil and Gas Research with Hong Kong-based CLSA
brokerage, said the rationale to acquire overseas reserves is to diversify risk,
for oil and gas, and seize opportunities that could provide operational
synergies with existing projects, while minimizing independent exploration
"With potential gross recoverable reserves that could surpass 1 billion
barrels, the OML filed is one of the world's giant oil discoveries. The deal
will allow CNOOC to gain deepwater expertise that could be applied back in
offshore China," Kwan said in an e-mail statement to customers.
South Atlantic's stake in the Akpo field was formally put up for sale last
September. The field needs billions of dollars of investment.
Other partners in the field are Nigerian National Petroleum Corp and
Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and the world's eighth-largest oil
exporter, producing 2.4 million barrels per day.
(China Daily 01/10/2006 page9)