August 15, 2014 / 7:57 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Brightoil seeks major China acquisition after $1 bln Anadarko deal

(Adds details of businesses, comments from CEO)

By Charlie Zhu

HONG KONG, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Brightoil Petroleum Holdings Ltd, which just completed a $1.05 billion purchase of Anadarko Petroleum Corp’s oilfield stakes in China, said it was seeking to make another major upstream acquisition over the next 12 months.

“We are trying to emulate what we have just done,” Chief Executive Officer Bruce Yung told Reuters on Friday. “We want to become a resource-focused company.”

Brightoil, whose international oil trading and bunkering businesses have been hit hard by the global financial crisis, is moving to transform itself into an upstream-focusd company.

It is already in talks for potential acquisitions of oil and gas-producing assets in China, and once an acquisition agreement is reached, Brightoil would fund it with both debt and equity capital, Yung said.

The Hong Kong-listed company does not rule out the possibility of issuing new shares, he said, adding that Sit Kwong Lam, Brightoil’s founder and chairman, does not object to the dilution of his nearly 75 percent stake due to any new share offer.

“He certainly does not mind to see a dilution of his stake, as long as he remains the majority shareholder of the company,” Yung said.

Brightoil said in February that it had agreed to buy Anadarko Petroleum’s stakes in two oil blocks in Bohai Bay off China’s northeast coast. It completed the deal, mostly funded with debt, last week.

More U.S. oil companies are seeking to sell their oilfield stakes in China and elsewhere to raise capital to develop shale oil projects at home, Yung said. The shift in strategy is coinciding with an expiry of some of their oilfield production sharing contracts in China, under which they must shift the operatorship of the oilfields back to China - making the projects less attractive to the foreign companies.

“This is offering us a great window of opportunity,” said Yung, an energy industry veteran who has held management positions at international energy firms like BP and British Gas.

Brightoil - currently with a daily oil and gas production of 25,000 barrels oil equivalent - will also consider bringing a partner into its shipping business or “monetising” parts of the assets to reinforce upstream investment in China and reduce exposure to the volatile business, he said.

Brightoil, which has a market value of $3.3 billion, currently owns nine oil tankers, including five VLCCs (very large crude carriers).

It 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 expanded into crude oil, diesel and petrochemicals, building on its shipping fuel trading roots. (Reporting by Charlie Zhu; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Ryan Woo)

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