CNPC to buy Marathon Oil's stake in Angolan offshore block for $1.52 bn

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Asia's largest oil refiner, yesterday agreed to buy Marathon Oil Corp's stake in Angolan offshore oil and gas field for $1.52 billion, its second recent acquisition in Africa.

The deal comes three months after the Beijing-based company acquired a 20-per cent stake in a Mozambique natural gas field from Italian energy giant Eni SpA, for $4.2 billion. (See: CNPC acquires Eni's 20% Mozambique gas stake for $4.2 bn)

Sonangol Sinopec International Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNPC, will acquire Marathon's 10-per cent stake in the Angolan field Block 31, which has estimated proved and probable reserves of 533 barrels.

The Houston-based company and its partners, have drilled more than 15 successful exploration wells in Block 31.

Block 31 struck first oil in the fourth quarter of 2012, where net production is expected to plateau at 14 mbbld in the first half of 2014 and remain at that level for approximately three years.

Other stakeholders in the block are BP Exploration Angola with 26.67 per cent and operatorship, Sonangol EP with 25 per cent, Sonangol P&P with 20 per cent, Statoil with 13.33 per cent and SSI 31 Ltd with 5 per cent.

The move is in line with Marathon's plan announced in late 2011 to sell non-core assets worth up to $3 billion, in order to fund its more lucrative operations. It has so far sold $1.3 billion worth of assets.

It is also planning to sell a 10-per cent stake in Block 32 in Angola and 10 per cent in Canada's Athabasca oil sands assets, valued at $3 billion.