February 14, 2014 / 6:30 AM / 4 years ago

Brightoil held talks with Anadarko, Newfield to buy China operations - sources

HONG KONG, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Hong Kong-listed oil trader and shipping firm Brightoil Petroleum Holdings has held talks with U.S. oil companies Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Newfield Exploration Co to buy their China operations, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Brightoil has been searching for upstream investment opportunities in China and overseas for several years. Trading in its shares has been suspended since Feb. 11 pending an announcement of a “very substantial acquisition”.

A source close to Brightoil said the pending announcement pertained to a major upstream transaction. It was not immediately known whether the trading halt was related to the talks held with Anadarko and Newfield. Brightoil declined to comment.

Anadarko and Newfield did not reply to emails seeking comment. The sources declined to be identified because the talks were confidential.

Reuters reported in November that Anadarko was considering the sale of its holdings in oil and gas projects in China worth about $1 billion.

Houston-based Anadarko owns about a 35 percent interest in production and development projects in China’s Bohai Bay. It also has a 50 percent interest in the South China Sea exploration acreage.

Brightoil, which has a market value of $2.5 billion, is the third-largest marine fuel supplier by volume in Singapore, which is the largest bunkering port in the world.

Last year, the firm’s trading and bunkering business added crude oil, diesel and petrochemicals, expanding on its shipping fuel trading roots.

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