Chinese oil giant to buy stake in Argentine firm

By Associated Press
Monday, March 15, 2010

HONG KONG -- Leading offshore-oil producer China National Offshore Oil Corp. said Sunday that it has agreed to pay $3.1 billion to form a joint venture with a major Argentine energy firm, helping to expand China's access to natural resources in South America.

The investment would give CNOOC a 50 percent stake in Bridas, a subsidiary of Argentina's Bridas Energy Holdings, the Chinese firm said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The venture would be managed by CNOOC and Bridas Energy Holdings. The Bridas subsidiary has exploration and production operations for oil and gas in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

The deal fits CNOOC's plan to broaden its reach into Latin America and grow overseas, the company said. "Bridas, with a world-class oil and gas asset portfolio, is a very good beachhead for us to enter Latin America," CNOOC President Yang Hua said in a statement. CNOOC said its average daily production is expected to climb by 46,000 barrels.

The cash transaction, if approved by China's government and regulators, will be completed by June.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company