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Sinopec to Buy Galp’s Offshore Asset in Brazil for USD 3.5 Billion

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Chinese state-owned oil company Sinopec Group said on Friday it had agreed to pay $3.54 billion to Portuguese oil firm Galp Energia for a 30 percent stake in its deep-sea oil asset in Brazil.

The deal marks China’s latest move to win influence over Western-owned energy assets to feed its fast-growing economy. It is also Sinopec’s major purchase in Brazil in just a year after it made a $7 billion purchase from Repsol for a 40 percent stake in its Brazil division.

“For Sinopec, there are not many opportunities to grow in the traditional domestic upstream oil and gas sector — overseas acquisition is an area to find growth,” said UOB Kay Hian analyst Yan Shi.

“It will benefit Sinopec on upstream reserves, and reduce risks in its money-losing downstream operation.”

Sinopec, Asia’s biggest oil refiner, expected the deal will expand its overseas oil and gas business operations and boost its oil and output growth.

Galp’s primary assets in Brazil include four deep-water blocks of BM-S-11, BM-S-24, BM-S-8 and BM-S-21 in the Santos Basin, it said.

Sinopec expected it would receive 21,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boedp) in 2015 and production would reach a peak of 112,500 boedp in 2024.

Under the agreement, Sinopec’s wholly owned unit, Sinopec International Exploration and Production Corp (SIPC), will take new shares to be issued by Galp and assume shareholder loans, Sinopec Group said in a statement.

“Taking into consideration this investment and projected future capital expenditure, the total cash payout amounts to approximately $5.18 billion at closing,” Sinopec said.

The transaction must be approved by the Chinese government.

China’s outbound M&A deals this year totaled $37.6 billion, down from $54.1 billion last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The deal would help Galp, a newcomer to large-scale oil projects, to finance its stake in the development of massive oil fields in the deepwater region known as the subsalt region in Brazil–site of the largest oil discovery in the Americas in more than 30 years.

“This capital increase significantly strengthens Galp Energia’s capital structure, fully securing its funding needs for the future expansion and development of its upstream activities,” Galp said in a statement.

Sinopec’s overseas acquisition strategy is partly guided by the desire to build up scale in certain countries, including Brazil, said a company official who declined to be named.

Galp is a minority partner with Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras in key offshore discoveries, including the vast Lula field, formerly known as Tupi, as well as the Cernambi and Iara finds.

Sinopec Group is the parent of Hong Kong-listed and Shanghai-listed China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. The group does overseas upstream oil and gas investment and operations via its wholly owned unit SIPC.

Sinopec was advised by Societe Generale , a source familiar with the matter said, while Galp Energia was advised by Bank of America Corp , J.P. Morgan , UBS Caixia BI.

By Judy Hua, Wan Xu and Ken Wills (Reuters)

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