By Yvonne Lee
HONG KONG--China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (SNP, 0386.HK, 600028.SH), or Sinopec Corp., said Sunday it agreed to buy US$3 billion worth of overseas oil and gas assets held by its state-owned parent, China Petrochemical Corp., or Sinopec Group, through an international joint venture between them.
Sinopec Corp., which is listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai, agreed to establish a joint venture company, namely Sinopec International Petroleum E&P Hongkong Overseas Ltd., with Sinopec Group. The new JV is planning to buy Sinopec Group's overseas upstream assets in major oil-and-gas producing countries including Kazakhstan, Colombia and Russia, the statement said.
The acquisitions are aimed at putting Sinopec on par with integrated global energy majors such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (>> Exxon Mobil Corporation), Chevron Corp. (>> Chevron Corporation) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA, RDSB, RDSA.LN, RDSB.LN).
Spearheading the charge is Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu, who led a failed bid to buy U.S. oil company Unocal for $18.5 billion in 2005 while at the helm of Cnooc Ltd. (CEO, 0883.HK), China's largest offshore oil-and-gas producer by capacity.
Mr. Fu is on a mission to transform Sinopec into the group's primary international arm. He said last year that Sinopec, which has few overseas oil and gas assets, planned to acquire its parent's overseas upstream assets, partly to limit the damage that China's fuel-price controls have on the company's bottom line.
Under Mr. Fu's leadership, Cnooc developed the greatest international reach of China's top three state-owned oil firms, acquiring oil and gas assets from North America to Nigeria to Iraq. He left Cnooc for Sinopec in 2011.
Sinopec Group holds a 73.86% stake in Sinopec Corp. Since 2010, the group has invested $34 billion in oil and gas deals in the U.K, U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Australia, according to data provider Dealogic.
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