Cnooc Argentine Venture to Buy BP Stake in Pan American for $7.1 Billion

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Bridas Corp., the oil company owned by Chinese crude producer Cnooc Ltd. and Argentina’s billionaire Bulgheroni family, agreed to pay BP Plc $7.06 billion for the 60 percent it doesn’t already own of Pan American Energy LLC.

Bridas Energy Holdings Ltd. and Cnooc, which each own 50 percent of Bridas Corp., will pay $2.47 billion apiece to finance the acquisition, with the remaining $2.12 billion to come from third-party loans or additional funds from the two companies, Cnooc said in a statement yesterday. The deal will probably be completed in the first half of next year.

The Beijing-based company is building on the $3.1 billion stake purchase in Bridas in March to expand its oil resources in Latin America as demand surges. Pan American, Argentina’s largest crude exporter, produces about 240,000 barrels a day and holds 1.54 billion barrels of proven reserves.

“The valuation is fairly attractive,” Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said in a telephone interview. “They are buying fairly mature oil and gas assets, so the question is how much Cnooc can squeeze out of these in the coming years,” he said.

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