US firm, Marathon, in Angola block sale

Angola oil24 June 2013, News Wires – Marathon Oil has bagged $1.52 billion from the sale of a stake in an Angolan deep-water play to Chinese giant Sinopec.

The US independent has sold its 10% stake in Block 31 off the African energy powerhouse to Sinopec subsidiary Sonangol Sinopec International, Reuters reported.

The move by Marathon was not unexpected, however: Reuters reported in early April that China National Petroleum Corporation, CNPC, and Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas were considering bids for Marathon’s stakes in two oil and gas fields off Angola.

The news wire said at the time that Marathon was putting its entire 10% stakes in blocks 31 and 32 up for sale.

Reuters also said at the time, however, that Marathon could have difficulty in disposing of the stakes to either CNPC or Petronas as Angolan partner Sonangol had the first right of refusal on the blocks.

The state energy company blocked a $1.3 billion deal to sell a 20% stake in Block 32 to China’s CNOOC and Sinopec by exercising this right in 2009.

Texas-based Marathon first laid out plans in late 2011 to divest up to $3 billion in assets to plough money back into other operations.

Its partners in Block 31 are operator BP on 26.67%, two Sonangol subsidiaries on 25% and 20%, Statoil on 13.33% and SS 31 on 5%.

Development drilling on the block began in 2010 with first production in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Block 32 currently has front-end engineering and design work ongoing on the Koambo development which will be comprised of two floating production, storage and offloading vessels.

– Vanguard

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