Total to sell Nigerian oilfield stake to China's Sinopec for $2.5 bn

French oil and gas giant Total SA said yesterday that the company has agreed to sell its 20-per cent stake in Nigeria's Usan offshore oilfield to a wholly owned subsidiary of China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) for approximately $2.5 billion in an all-cash deal.

The move comes as news surfaced last month 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)

Total is selling its contractor's stake in the OML 138 block located about 100 km south of the Nigerian coast, which currently produces 130,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent. The block contains the Usan field, which started commercial production in February 2012.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is the concession holder of the block. Its other partners include Chevron with 30 per cent stake, Esso with 30 per cent and Nexen Petroleum with 20 per cent.

The sale is part of France's largest and Europe's third-biggest oil company's plans to divest assets worth $15 billion to $20 billion from 2012 to 2014. Last year the company sold assets worth $10.7 billion.

A possible purchase of Nigerian oilfield stakes by Sinopec, Asia's largest refiner, was reported about a fortnight ago. (See: Sinopec close to buying stakes in Nigerian onshore oil blocks from Total for $2.4 bn)