HOUSTON -- Taiwan's national oil and natural gas company is buying Huffington Corporation's energy and real estate operations in a deal that could be worth more than $1 billion, company officers said.
The agreement with the Houston company includes the equivalent of 11 city blocks in downtown Houston, 419 acres of undeveloped land near Houston Intercontinental Airport, and Huffington's Indonesian oil and gas interests that formed it financial backbone, the executives said Monday.
The Chinese Petroleum Corp., through its Houston affiliate Opicoil America Inc., signed a cash stock purchase agreement that includes Roy M. Huffington Inc. (Huffco) and The Abercrombie Co., Huffington's real estate operation, the executives said.
Analysts have valued Huffco's 16.7 percent interest in the Indonesian joint venture as high as $1 billion, although others put the likely price closer to about $700 million.
Mingson Juang, vice president and general manager of Opicoil America, said it was the Indonesian holdings that attracted Chinese Petroleum's interest in Huffco.
Chinese Petroleum, based in Taipei, Taiwan, is owned by the government and conducts oil and gas operations worldwide.
In 1987, the company signed a 20-year contract with Pertamina, the Indonesian state oil and gas enterprise, under which Chinese Petroleum imports 1.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually.
Juang said the company will function simply as a partner in the Indonesian joint venture since Huffco had already relinquished its role as operator.
He said a decision has not been made on whether Huffco assets will be operated out of Taiwan or Houston.
Huffington Corp. announced in November that it was seeking a buyer for all of its opeations in a single package. The company is privately held by Houston oilman Roy Huffington, 72, and his two children.