Oil and Gas

TIMELINE-Resource-hungry China invests in Africa

Sept 29 (Reuters) - Nigeria is talking with China about selling large stakes in some of its biggest oil blocks, according to a leaked document, in what executives say may be a bid to strengthen its hand with existing Western oil partners.

State-owned oil company CNOOC, China’s no. 3 oil and gas producer and an offshore specialist, is bidding for 6 billion barrels of Nigerian oil, equivalent to a sixth of the country’s proven reserves, according to the Financial Times.[ID:nLT576633]

China’s government and its state-controlled companies have invested billions of dollars in Africa to secure natural resources for the Asian giant’s growing economy and build Beijing’s political influence in the developing world.

Here is a timeline of some major deals since 2007:

Oct 2007 - Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Nickel Materials Co, China’s third-largest cobalt producer, says it plans to build a copper and cobalt mining and refining project in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a total cost of $350 million through 2015.

Jan 2008 - The China-Africa Development Fund launches its first investment plan, pumping $90 million into four projects in Africa. They include a power station in Ghana, a glass factory in Ethiopia, a joint venture ferrochrome plant in Zimbabwe and cement and glass production facilities around Africa.

Jan 2008 - A multibillion dollar loan agreement is signed by China’s Exim Bank and the DRC, allowing Chinese companies mining rights to millions of tonnes of Congolese copper and cobalt.

Jan 2008 - China agrees to fund a $1 billion hydropower dam in Guinea in return for rights to mine bauxite.

April 2008 - China Railway Group says it plans to set up a joint venture to invest in a $2.9 billion copper and cobalt mining project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

June 2008 - China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) wins a $5 billion deal to develop oil reserves in eastern Niger. CNPC agrees to bring into production within three years the large Agadem block, which has proven reserves so far of 324 million barrels. It will also build a refinery with capacity of 20,000 barrels per day near the southern city of Zinder.

July 2008 - China Harbour Engineering Co. signs a memorandum of understanding with the African Finance Corporation to build a 125-km highway around the volatile Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, the hub of Africa’s biggest oil industry.

Aug 2008 - China Development Bank governor says the bank is planning more investments in African farming. He says the bank has already granted loans worth several hundred million dollars to agricultural processing companies, mostly in East Africa.

June 2009 - China’s state-owned Nonferrous Metal Mining Corp (CNMC) pledges to invest $400 million in Zambia’s Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) after formally taking over running the mines.

June 2009 - Sinopec, China’s largest oil refiner, agrees to buy Swiss oil explorer Addax Petroleum Corp for $7.24 billion, a deal that will give it access to high-potential oil blocks in West Africa and Iraq.

July 2009 - CNOOC and Sinopec agree to purchase a 20 percent stake in an oil block offshore Angola from Marathon Oil MRO.N for $1.3 billion.

Sept 29, 2009 - CNOOC is in talks with Nigeria to buy large stakes in some of Africa’s richest oil blocks, the Financial Times reports. (Writing by David Cutler and Jijo Jacob; London and Bangalore Editorial Reference Units; editing by James Jukwey)