China Sinochem Group Corp., China’s fourth-largest oil company in terms of assets, will bid in oil and gas exploration licensing round to be held by Colombia in June, a company official said.
The state-run Sinochem, which is already active in the South American country following its acquisition of Emerald Energy PLC, is in the process of reviewing data on some of the blocks made available in the round, but “will definitely bid” as South America is one of its focus areas, said the official, who declined to be named.
As many as 228 blocks covering close to 60 million hectares have been put up for international tender by the Colombian government this year in all areas of the country except the Amazon basin.
Colombia is South America’s third-largest oil producer after Venezuela and Brazil. Its crude oil output is expected to average more than 800,000 barrels a day in 2010, increasing to more than 1 million barrels a day in the following two years, Armando Zamora, director of Colombia’s National Hydrocarbon agency, said Wednesday.
The news underlines Chinese oil companies’ increased interest in the region, following their earlier expansion into Africa and the Middle East.
Sinochem is targeting an increase in its overseas equity oil production to 5 million metric tons by 2012, helping to transform itself from a trading firm into an integrated energy company, the state-controlled Xinhua news agency reported earlier.
Sinochem has also submitted a bid for stakes in a large offshore oil field in Brazil in which Norwegian state oil company Statoil ASA (STO: 22.57, -0.33, -1.44%) is selling a 40% share, according to people familiar with the matter.
In recent overseas deals, Sinochem and its partner China National Offshore Oil Corp. signed in March an initial deal to develop the 2.5 billion-barrel Missan oil field complex in southern Iraq.
Source: Dowjones, May 14, 2010;