Major Chinese oil firm CNOOC paying $3.1 billion to form joint-venture in South America

Leading offshore producer China National Offshore Oil Corp. said Sunday 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 will give CNOOC a 50 percent stake in Bridas Corp., which is currently controlled by Bridas Energy Holdings Ltd., the Chinese firm said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

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The joint-venture company will be jointly managed by CNOOC and Bridas Energy. Bridas Corp. currently has oil and gas exploration and production operations in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

The deal meshes with CNOOC’s plan to broaden its reach into Latin American 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’s president, Yang Hua, said in a statement.

CNOOC said its average daily production is expected to climb by 46,000 barrels.

The cash transaction, subject to approval by China’s government and regulators, will be completed by June.

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