Chinese state-owned oil company CNOOC is in talks with Nigeria to buy large stakes in some of the richest oil blocks in the world, the Financial Times reported today.
The value of the potential deal was not disclosed, but details suggested a figure of around $30 billion (R221 billion), the FT said. The company is bidding for 6 billion barrels of oil, equivalent to one in six pumped by Africa’s second largest oil producer.
If the bid is successful, it could place the company in competition with major western oil groups like Total, Shell, Chevron and Exxon Mobil, which operate the 23 blocks under discussion, the newspaper said.
The FT said the deal was detailed in a letter it had seen from the office of Nigeria’s president, Umaru Yar’Adua, to CNOOC’s representative Sunrise.
China’s push to gain a foothold in Nigeria is its latest attempt to secure access to energy resources, the paper said.
Tanimu Yakubu, the Nigerian president’s economic adviser, said in the FT report that China may not secure “anything close” to the 6 billion barrels it is seeking, saying: “We want to retain our traditional friends.”
He added, however, that the Chinese “are really offering multiples of what existing producers are pledging (for licences). We love to see this kind of competition.”
Pic: Oil pipelines in Nigeria