Oil report

Addax Petroleum attracts interest from Asian suitors -sources

HONG KONG, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Africa and Middle East-focused oil and gas firm Addax Petroleum AXC.TOAXC.L has attracted buyout interest from major Chinese, Japanese, and Indian energy firms, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Toronto and London-listed Addax, with a market value of roughly $2.9 billion, has projects in Nigeria, Gabon, Cameroon, and exploration licenses in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Chinese offshore oil giant CNOOC 0883.HKCEO.N, Japan's Mitsubishi 8058.T, and major Indian firms, which include Oil & Natural Gas Corp ONGC.BO, have all expressed interest in the firm, sources said.

“Addax has been talked about for a while. Chinese players are looking at it,” one of the sources told Reuters, adding that Chinese oil majors continue to scour Africa for quality assets.

“CNOOC has looked at Addax,” a second source said.

The sources declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the process, which is at an early stage.

CNOOC in particular has aggressively sought African resources. The firm, which is hunting for overseas assets to meet demand from China, set aside $6.76 billion in capital expenditures for 2009, up 19 percent from last year.

Addax Petroleum was not immediately available for comment. Mitsubishi and CNOOC declined to comment. A New Delhi-based spokesman for ONGC could not comment immediately when asked whether the firm was looking at Addax.

Reporting by Joseph Chaney; Additional reporting by Yuko Inoue in Tokyo and Devidutta Tripathy in New Delhi; Editing by Ken Wills