CNPC, CNOOC to Get Blocks Offshore Equatorial Guinea

SAN FRANCISCO Sep 10, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Two Chinese state-run oil companies, China National Petroleum Corp. and CNOOC Ltd., will soon sign contracts to explore one offshore block each in the western African country of Equatorial Guinea, Chinese industry officials said recently, marking the latest expansion in China's oil exploration activities in Africa.

The blocks are located in the Gulf of Guinea, each covering an area of around 10,000-20,000 square kilometers, said one official last week, who declined to estimate the contracts' possible values.

The two Chinese companies will sign the contracts with the Equatorial Guinean government, which put the blocks up for auction earlier, he said.

CNOOC will send a delegation to Equatorial Guinea to sign the contract in the middle of this month, said another official Sunday, without mentioning when the CNPC deal might be signed.

CNPC and CNOOC already are already exploring a number of oil and gas blocks in Africa, mainly in Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya.

CNPC is struggling to expand its presence from Sudan to other African countries because of Sudan's limited reserves and political troubles.

CNOOC is also keen to expand overseas as domestic production slows.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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