* Follows decision to invest over $300 million
* New investments set to boost export volumes
* Glencore first of major trading houses to get Chad contract
By Emma Farge
GENEVA, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Glencore has signed a contract with Chad’s state oil company to export crude in 2013, industry sources said, after the commodities trader agreed to invest more than $300 million in the central African country’s oilfields.
Chad’s oil production is around 120,000 barrels per day and has until now been mostly sold by long-standing upstream partners such as ExxonMobil and Malaysian company Petroliam Na s ional Berhad.
Shipping lists showed that Glencore, the first of the major trading houses to secure a contract with potentially lucrative Chad, will export its first 950,000 barrel cargo of the heavy, low-sulphur Doba grade in late January.
The group was seen offering it in the spot market this week, traders said.
Glencore declined to comment on its Chad operations. Chad’s state oil firm SHT was not immediately available for comment late on Friday.
Landlocked Chad is linked to the Gulf of Guinea via a pipeline, completed in 2003, that stretches more than 1,000 km through neighbouring Cameroon. It typically exports three to four cargoes a month, worth a nominal $300 million-$400 million based on current Brent prices.
Glencore’s first exports from Chad follow shortly after its joint venture partner said in September Glencore would invest over $300 million in Chad’s Badila and Mangara oilfields.
These will be linked to the Cameroon export pipeline in early 2013, Griffiths Energy added in a November statement.
The commodities trader already has a stake in oil production in Equatorial Guinea and some analysts expect it to target further oil acquisitions following the completion of its long-awaited tie-up with miner Xstrata.
Chad’s SHT first began selling its oil directly this summer and Geneva-based Lynx Energy, led by former Mercuria traders, was the first trading house to sign a contract, according to industry sources.
Several other trading houses including Gunvor have also been vying for a contract to export from Chad, the sources added.