Sat, Dec 11, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Sinopec to buy Argentina arm of oil firm Occidental

AFP, BEIJING

China’s Sinopec (中國石化) said yesterday it will buy the Argentine arm of US Occidental Petroleum Corp for US$2.45 billion, as the country’s quest for energy increasingly takes it to South America.

Asia’s top refiner said it will take over Occidental Argentina, an oil and gas producer that holds an interest in 23 production and exploration concessions in Argentina’s Santa Cruz, Mendoza and Chubut provinces, through a subsidiary.

FIRST UPSTREAM

The deal marks the Chinese company’s first investment in Argentina’s upstream oil and gas sector and is still subject to government approvals, said Sinopec, also known as China Petrochemical Corp.

“As the biggest petrochemical company in China, Sinopec is actively building an international presence in an attempt to catch the wave of globalization and -diversify crude supply,” the state-owned company said.

Gross production from the 22 concessions actually producing in Argentina was more than 51,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day last year, it said.

Occidental Petroleum Corpo was not immediately available to comment.

BUYING SPREE

Sinopec’s announcement comes less than two weeks after China National Offshore Oil Company (中國海洋石油) and Bridas Energy Holdings Ltd agreed to buy a 60 percent stake in Argentina-based Pan American Energy LLC from BP PLC for US$7.06 billion.

Faced with scant domestic energy reserves, China is aggressively searching the globe for natural resources to fuel its fast-growing economy.

The World Bank has forecast China’s economy to grow 10 percent this year, before slowing to 8.7 percent next year.

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