Sinopec targets Total Nigeria assets

06 November 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – AIMING to arrest the decline in its oil reserves, China’s Sinopec is close to buying stakes in Nigerian onshore oil blocks from Total for about $2.4 billion.

According to a report, the state-backed Chinese refiner has signed a preliminary deal to acquire the stakes, one person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The French oil giant is seeking to divest $15 billion to $20 billion of assets from 2012 to 2014 in order to raise cash for oil and gas projects.

Total chief executive officer, Christophe de Margerie has said most of that will come from the exploration and production division.

China’s state-backed energy companies are seeking new oil and gas reserves abroad to feed the world’s second-largest economy, especially in regions like Africa where government scrutiny is lighter than in North America or Europe.

Sinopec has also approached the French oil firm Etablissements Maurel et Prom, which operates in Gabon, about an acquisition, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg this month.

A Total official in Paris declined to comment to the news wire. A spokesman for Sinopec was not immediately available for comment, Bloomberg said.

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  • We fear for Nigeria. In countries like Ghana, Chinese who purchase gold mining leases bring in armed Chinese contractors to police their assets. China for all intent and purpose is still a third world country where public opinion matters very little. Since the Nigerian government is only interested in revenue receipt, we are concerned it wouldn’t mind whom the French sell their equity in oil producing fields to. We submit today that with the Chinese will come a new dimension to the militarisation of oil producing fields in the Niger Delta.