CNOOC says to focus on overseas forays until 2010

BEIJING, July 28 Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:15pm EDT

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BEIJING, July 28 (Reuters) - Following a couple of recent international forays, China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) (0883.HK) said on Tuesday that it would ratchet up its efforts to acquire more energy assets abroad in the upcoming months.

Chinese energy majors have been snapping up overseas assets in recent months to secure oil supplies for the world's second-largest energy user, taking advantage of the global financial crisis and a fall in oil costs.

"We should step up our efforts to acquire more resources assets. Studying a strategy for overseas merger and acquisition is a focus of our work for the second half and next year," Fu Chengyu, CNOOC's president, was cited by a news letter published on the firm's Web site (www.cnooc.com.cn) as saying.

The overseas oil major announced last week that it would form a 50-50 venture with Sinopec (600028.SS) to purchase a 20 percent stake in an oil block offshore Angola from Marathon Oil (MRO.N) for $1.3 billion.

CNOOC was also reported to be jointly planning bids with PetroChina (0857.HK) for a stake in Canadian oil firm Interoil Corp's (IOC.N) natural gas project.

Sources told Reuters early this month that CNOOC was battling with CNPC, China's biggest state-owned oil firm, for approval to bid for YPF, the Argentine unit of Repsol-YPF (REP.MC), in a deal that could be worth around $17 billion. [ID:nSP279671]

In April, Fu had said his company had no plans to buy foreign firms during the financial crisis, looking instead for joint investments with foreign partners. [ID:nPEK340248] (Reporting by Eadie Chen and Chen Aizhu, Editing by Jonathan Hopfner) (eadie.chen@reuters.com; +8610 6627 1268; Reuters Messaging: eadie.chen.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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