Word reaches this Bystander of an unusual possible takeover bid by a Chinese firm, or rather pair of firms.
CNPC, parent of PetroChina, and Sinopec are bidding between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion for Petro-Tech Peruana, which holds eight licences for drilling in 5 million acres off the Peruvian coast, Reuters reports. Plenty of Chinese companies are buying up natural resources around the world, and, as we have noted before, they have plenty of the wherewithal to do so, but it is uncommon for them to mount joint bids.
That said, Sinopec is also working with China’s third big oil company, CNOOC, on acquiring fields in Angola. This may all point to increasing coordination between CNPC, Sinopec and CNOOC to make sure they are not falling over each other as the world’s biggest oil and gas reserves get increasingly scarce and expensive to acquire, and oil and gas companies turn more to small- and medium sized fields, such as Peru’s
Petro-Tech Peruana made Peru’s first offshore oil discovery earlier this year and has also found natural gas. It may lack the resources to develop two fields that are estimated to hold 1.1 billion barrels of oil and up to 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas respectively. The company is a subsidiary of Offshore International Group, a privately held American oil and gas company based in Houston and owned by William M. Kalopp, who appears to split his time between Texas and Lima.
CNPC and Sinopec, if they do mount a bid, will likely find themselves in competition with Brazil’s Petrobras and Royal Dutch Shell. But they won’t find themselves without familiar neighbours. Steelmaker Shougang and the Zijin Mining Group already have operations in Peru.
And the bid, again if it happens, will be an interesting test of the current temperature of Sino-American relations as election season in the U.S. heats up. Will Chinese firms bidding for American-owned energy companies, even those owning assets far from the U.S., become a political cause celebre in the way CNOOC’s big for Unocal did in 2005?