China National Offshore Oil Corp., the country’s third-largest oil and gas company, declined to comment on reports it is holding talks to buy as much as 9 billion US dollars of BP Plc’s assets in South America.
“We don’t comment on market rumours” Jiang Yongzhi, a Beijing-based spokesman for China National, said.
The state-owned Chinese energy company has expressed an interest in buying a 60% stake BP owns in the Argentine oil and gas producer Pan American Energy, The Guardian reported earlier this week, without saying where it obtained the information. Sheila Williams, a London-based spokeswoman for BP, declined to comment about the talks which were also reported by Sky News.
BP is looking to raise money to help pay for the clean-up operation in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, The Guardian said. China National already owns 20% of Pan American through its stake in Bridas Corp., the U.K. daily newspaper reported.
BP last month promised to set aside 20 billion USD for the cleanup and compensation for the spill, and it said it will sell assets to raise funds after cancelling the dividend for three quarters.
The company’s share price has dropped 50% since the April 20 blow-out on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 and started the worst oil spill in US history.
State-controlled Chinese energy companies have spent at least 20 billion USD buying oil and gas assets overseas in the past 12 months to meet increasing demand in the world fastest- growing major economy.