Sinopec takes Total's assets in Nigeria

Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:29 AM

PARIS, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- French supermajor Total announced it sold a 20 percent interest in a Nigerian oil block to a subsidiary of a Chinese oil company for $2.5 billion.

Total said it reached an agreement with a subsidiary of China Petroleum Corp., known as Sinopec, to sell a 20 percent contractor interest in the OML 138 block in Nigeria.

Early this month, market analysts told Bloomberg News that investing in the Nigerian oil sector made sense for Asian economies, where state-run companies are looking for new reserves.

Sinopec had crude oil reserves of around 2.8 billion barrels last year, down from 3.3 billion barrels reported in 2007.

Yves-Louis Darricarrere, president of upstream operations for Total, said the sale was part of his company's "active portfolio management" strategy.

This year mark Total's 50th anniversary of working in Nigeria, where oil production last year reached 287,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Total's move follows a similar divestment by oil major Shell, which said this month that it sold 30 percent of a stake in a 3,600-square-mile lease in the Niger Delta to a domestic consortium.

Nigeria is the 10th largest oil producer in the world, producing around 2.5 million barrels of oil per day.

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