Thursday, 18 April 2013

CNPC, Petronas eye Marathon's Angola oil fields

China National Petroleum Corp and Malaysia's Petronas are considering bids for Marathon Oil Corp's stakes in two Angolan offshore oil and gas fields, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The sale comes as U.S. oil and gas producers scale back their global ambitions to focus on their home market, opening the field for Asia's state-backed giants. An estimated $6 billion worth of oil and gas blocks are being sold by companies worldwide, according to ThomsonReuters data.

Houston-based Marathon first laid out plans in late 2011 to divest up to $3 billion worth of assets to plough money back into other operations.

Marathon has put its entire 10 percent stake each in Blocks 31 and 32 offshore Angola up for sale, the people said. The two Asian energy companies are working with advisors to place bids, though no deal was imminent, they added.

BP, Total SA and Angolan state energy company Sonangol are among Marathon's partners.

Marathon, CNPC and Petronas declined to comment. Sources declined to be identified as the sale process is confidential.

Africa is emerging as the new frontier for oil and gas exploration, with early investors often cashing out.

With Asian acquirers turning aggressive, their share in global oil and gas deals has more than doubled from a decade back, according to Thomson Reuters data. Asia's share in global oil and gas M&A climbed to 19.6 percent in 2012, from 7.6 percent in 2003, the data shows. This comes as global oil and gas M&A jumped to a record $345.9 billion last year. - Reuters