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Brazil cashing in on natural gas resources
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (UPI) Nov 11, 2011

Argentina: William's Falklands deployment 'provocative'
Buenos Aires (AFP) Nov 11, 2011 - Argentina complained Friday that Prince William's six-week mission as a rescue pilot in the Falkland Islands, the object of a 1982 British-Argentine war, is "a provocative act."

William, second in Britain's royal line of succession, is due to be deployed in the disputed archipelago, known as the Malvinas in the Spanish-speaking world, early next year just ahead of the war's 30th anniversary.

"It is a provocative act that displays Britain's military presence in an area where there is no armed conflict," said Sebastian Brugo Marco, the Argentine foreign ministry's director for the Malvinas.

"One cannot ignore the political content of the military operation, keeping in mind that the prince is part of the royal family," he said in an interview published by the newspaper La Nacion.

The war over the remote islands erupted after they were seized by Argentine forces on April 2, 1982. It ended 74 days later with their rout by a British expeditionary force in a campaign that left 255 British and 649 Argentine dead.

The Royal Air Force said in a statement that the 29-year-old prince, a search and rescue pilot, "will complete a routine deployment to the Falkland Islands... during the period February to March 2012."

"This deployment forms part of a normal squadron crew rotation and will form part of Flight Lieutenant Wales' training and career progression as a Search and Rescue pilot within the RAF."

Brazil is cashing in on its natural gas resources with new international deals that secure both early development of existing finds and new investors for the industry.

Swedish group Skanska this week announced a $490 million engineering, procurement and construction contract to build a new 550 megawatt natural gas thermal power plant in Rio de Janeiro. It is Skanska's biggest contract in Latin America.

A larger deal finalized Friday will see Chinese energy giant Sinopec paying $3.54 billion for Portuguese company Galp's 30 percent stake in a deep-sea asset in Brazil's Santos Basin in the South Atlantic, about 190 miles southeast of Sao Paulo.

The Skanska contract with Brazilian energy group Petrobras aims to push forward a gas-powered thermal power generation project in Seropedica at Baixada Fluminense, about 45 miles north of Rio de Janeiro.

Skanska, the single contractor of the project, will do the basic design, detailed engineering and construction of the facilities.

The contract includes the procurement of equipment and material and Skanska will assist with the start-up and operation of the plant by the end of 2014. At its peak the plant will have about 1,500 people on the job.

Skanska has been building its business on the continent, focusing on construction, operations and services for the international oil and gas and energy industry. Last year it had about 10,000 employees in the region, one-fifth of an estimated 52,000 Skanska workers worldwide. The company has headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.

The other energy deal announced Friday gives Galp cash needed to continue expanding operations in Brazil's energy sector, where the sheer size of the required investment and project scale has kept many players out of the picture. Brazil's deep-water reserves require special skills and equipment not used elsewhere and drilling to great depths under the sea bed.

Sinopec's wholly owned unit, Sinopec International Exploration and Production Corp., will take new shares to be issued by Galp and assume shareholder loans, Sinopec said in a statement.

The immediate investment and future capital expenditure could exceed $5 billion, it said.

Sinopec expect to receive 21,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2015, the production set to reach 112,500 boe per day by 2024.

The Sinopec deal means a major entrance for China in Brazil. Last year Sinopec paid Spanish energy group Repsol $7 billion for a 40 percent stake in its Brazilian operations.

China this year has spent more than $37 billion on buying foreign assets, still less than $54 billion it lavished on acquisitions in 2010 but with seven weeks to go before the end of the year.

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Sinopec to pay $3.5 bln for Brazil oil stake
Beijing (AFP) Nov 11, 2011 - China's Sinopec said Friday it will pay $3.54 billion for a 30 percent stake in the Brazilian unit of Portuguese oil giant Galp Energia, marking the latest push by Chinese companies into Latin America.

Asia's top refiner said in a statement the transaction was subject to approval from the Chinese government.

Galp Energia SGPS SA, a major oil and gas producer in Portugal, operates four offshore blocks in the Santos Basin off Brazil, state-owned Sinopec said.

"The acquisition has further expanded Sinopec's overseas oil and gas business operations and will make major contributions to the company's oil and gas output growth," Sinopec said in a statement.

The total cash payout will eventually reach about $5.18 billion, including the value of the 30 percent stake and projected future capital expenditure, Sinopec said.

Shanghai-listed shares in Sinopec closed up 1.2 percent to 7.5 yuan on Friday while its Hong Kong shares were up 3.11 percent at HK$8.25.

Galp Energia, which has projects around the world including Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay, Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland and Gambia, could not be immediately reached for comment.

China's quest for resources is increasingly taking it to South America, as it seeks to shore up access to oil, gas, coal and iron ore needed to fuel the world's second-largest economy and biggest energy consumer.

Last December, Sinopec said it would buy the Argentinean arm of US Occidental Petroleum Corporation for $2.45 billion, marking its first investment in Argentina's upstream oil and gas sector.

Norwegian energy group Statoil also agreed last year to sell 40 percent of the Peregrino oil field off Brazil to China's Sinochem for nearly $3.1 billion.

That followed a move by state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. to pay $900 million for access to oil deposits in Venezuela's eastern Orinoco region.

Chinese trade with resource-rich Latin America has grown about ten-fold over the past decade as Beijing's search for new sources of raw materials has expanded, while South American purchases of Chinese goods have also climbed.

China's trade with the region reached $183.6 billion in 2010, compared with $121.9 billion in 2009, the latest official figures show.

Chinese investment in Latin America reached $10.5 billion in 2010, up from $7.3 billion in 2009.


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Exxon inks oil deal with Iraqi Kurdistan: official
Baghdad (AFP) Nov 11, 2011
Oil giant ExxonMobil has signed a deal with Iraqi Kurdistan, possibly jeopardising its contract for the giant West Qurna-1 field in southern Iraq, an Iraqi oil ministry official said on Friday. "Yes, ExxonMobil signed a contract," said Abdelmahdi al-Amidi, director general of the oil ministry's petroleum contracting and licensing directorate, citing an adviser in the Kurdistan ministry of na ... read more

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