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China's Sinopec to buy Occidental Argentina

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Dec 10, 2010
China's Sinopec said Friday it will buy the Argentine arm of US Occidental Petroleum Corporation for 2.45 billion dollars, 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 Santa Cruz, Mendoza and Chubut provinces, through a subsidiary.

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 Corporation.

"As the biggest petrochemical company in China, Sinopec is actively building an international presence in an attempt to catch the wave of globalisation 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 Corporation was not immediately available to comment.

Sinopec's announcement comes less than two weeks after China National Offshore Oil Company and Bridas Energy Holdings agreed to buy a 60-percent stake in Argentina-based Pan American Energy from BP for 7.06 billion dollars.

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 in 2011.

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