Cnooc plans $7-bn bid for BP's stake in Argentina's Pan American Energy

Cnooc Ltd, China's biggest offshore oil producer, yesterday said that its joint venture with Bridas Energy Holding are continuing talks for a $7.06 billion bid to buy British oil giant BP Plc's stake in Argentine oil company Pan American Energy (PAE).

"We are still working on the deal," an unnamed Cnooc official told Dow Jones Newswires.

Cnooc last week said it still has not received "certain regulatory approvals" for the deal - the deadline for which expired yesterday.

Beijing-based Cnooc had said last month that the deadline for getting approvals was 1 November, after which either party would have the right to terminate the deal, "unless all parties agree otherwise to an extension of time," while BP said that both parties are working towards securing the necessary regulatory approvals and expects the deal to be finalised in 2012.

As part of its $30-billion assets disposal plan, London-based BP had in November last year agreed to sell its 60 per cent stake in PAE to Bridas for $7.06 billion in cash. (See: BP to sell Argentinean asset to Bridas for $7.06 billion

PAE is involved in the exploration, development and production of oil and gas and has interests in the Southern Cone region of South America. The company's main interests are in Argentina, where it is the second largest producer of oil and gas.