Sinopec close to buying stakes in Nigerian onshore oil blocks from Total for $2.4 bn

Chinese oil giant China Petrochemical Corp, known as Sinopec, is close to buying stakes in Nigerian onshore oil blocks from French oil major Total worth about $2.4 billion, Bloomberg yesterday reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The move comes as news surfaced last week that Beijing-based Sinopec is planning to acquire Etablissements Maurel & Prom, in a deal that could value the French oil explorer at more than $2 billion. (See: Sinopec eyes French oil major Maurel & Prom)

State-owned Sinopec, Asia largest refiner, has signed a preliminary deal to acquire the stakes, the report said without mentioning the location of these blocks.

Total, France's largest and Europe's third-biggest oil company, is seeking to divest up to $20 billion of assets before 2014 in order to raise cash for oil and gas projects.

Total, which has been operating in Nigeria for nearly 50 years, produces approximately 290,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the African nation.

Deepwater developments are one of Total's main growth avenues in Nigeria, where the Group operates the Akpo field and is also preparing to develop the Egina.