Apache Corp Mulls Divesting China Oil Assets

HOUSTON, Jul 29, 2005 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex)

Apache Corp. (APA) is mulling whether to expand its oil operations in China or divest them, President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Farris said Thursday.

"On China today there are really two mindsets," said Farris during a second-quarter earnings conference call. "One view is that China is so important that we really ought to be there. The alternative is that we really create greater value where we have the ability to operate and have an impact."

The reason for the potential withdrawal, according to Farris, is the relatively small size of the company's investment in China. The company will make a decision within the next 18 to 24 months, said Farris. "If we make the decision to stay in China it will obviously mean expanding our acreage position," he said.

Apache produced 10,677 barrels of oil a day in China during the second quarter of 2005, up from 5,966 b/d a year earlier, according to the company's second quarter earnings report.

An Apache spokesman declined to comment on a Financial Times report that the company contacted Cnooc Ltd. (CEO) to express interest in Unocal Corp. (UCL)'s U.S. assets in the event the Chinese company succeeds in taking over Unocal. Cnooc is considering a pledge to sell all of Unocal's domestic operations as it tries to secure U.S. government approval for a potential takeover, the newspaper said Thursday.

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