UPDATE 3-CNOOC, GNPC bid $5 bln for Kosmos Ghana assets -source

* CNOOC and GNPC interested in Kosmos Ghana assets

* Bid follows another earlier this month for U.S. shale oil

* GNPC also talking to Norway’s Statoil -Bloomberg

* China resource companies active in Africa
(Adds graphic links, updates share price)

By Michael Flaherty

HONG KONG, Oct 22 (BestGrowthStock) – China’s CNOOC (0883.HK: ) and
Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) have bid $5 billion for
Kosmos Energy LLC’s assets in the West African state, including
its stake in the Jubilee field, a source close to the deal said
on Friday.

The offer tops an earlier, failed bid of more than $4
billion from Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: ) for the Kosmos assets, which
includes a coveted 23.49 percent stake in a large, Ghana oil
discovery known as the Jubilee field.

CNOOC and domestic rivals Sinopec (0386.HK: )(600028.SS: ) and
PetroChina (0857.HK: )(601857.SS: ) have all been chasing global
energy assets hard there in their race to feed China’s rapid
growth.

“PetroChina, Sinopec and CNOOC have all had an
international strategy for a while now, which is to go out
there and do deals where they can,” said Tan Kim-Chong, an
analyst at Yuanta Research in Hong Kong.

“There’s a limit to how much they can produce domestically,
and they now need to go out there to look for fields that they
can still buy at a reasonable price.”

In the latest deal in Ghana, Kosmos, backed by private
equity firms Blackstone Group and Warburg Pincus, has been
trying to auction off the stake for more than a year, with
CNOOC a persistent bidder.

A CNOOC spokesman could not immediately be reached for
comment.

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Factbox on China deals: [ID:nLDE6900N5]

Graphic on China’s global resource M&A deals:

http://link.reuters.com/xuv48p

Timeline on China’s oil and mineral deals in Africa:

[ID:nTOE69L03U]

Graphic on CNOOC’s foreign assets:

http://link.reuters.com/pub79p

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

The bid comes just two weeks after China National Offshore
Oil Co (CNOOC) agreed to pay $1.1 billion for a stake in a U.S.
shale oil and gas field, as the company looks for new oil
sources to help it meet aggressive output targets.
[ID:nN11129508]

“CNOOC’s own assets are probably being squeezed too hard
… so they have to go abroad to buy things to give CNOOC a
future,” said Laban Yu, an analyst at Macquarie Research.

“So they are willing to pay high premiums for these assets
and there will be benefits to China as a country to secure
energy supply. But it will not be beneficial to shareholders,”
he said.

State-owned Ghana National also is holding preliminary
talks with Statoil ASA, seeking to interest Norway’s largest
oil company in becoming a third partner in a Kosmos bid,
according to Bloomberg, which added that BP (BP.L: ) had also
been looped into the talks but decided not to advance.

Last month media reported that Kosmos, a Texas-based oil
and production company, was considering an initial public
offering that would value that company at about $5 billion.
[ID:nLDE68200C]

Bloomberg said on Friday that Kosmos was working with
Citigroup and Credit Suisse on the IPO plans. The banks could
not immediately be reached for comment.

CNOOC SHARES SAG ON LATEST DEAL

CNOOC shares, which jumped after the U.S. shale oil deal
earlier this month, were down 0.75 percent midway through the
Hong Kong trading day, lagging the broader market which was
down 0.16 percent.

CNOOC (CEO.N: ) had been a noticeable absentee from overseas
M&A since it paid $2.7 billion for a stake in French oil major
Total’s (TOTF.PA: ) African Akpo field in 2006.

A year earlier, it was bumped by a U.S. political backlash
from buying U.S.-based oil company Unocal. Analysts had begun
to question the group’s bullish production growth forecasts,
pushing CNOOC to seek more outbound deals.

The Ghana field holds an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of
crude.

Most outbound acquisitions by China’s oil companies this
year have been in risky areas such as Africa, which Western
rivals have avoided, or in locations with ageing assets.

The 10 deals so far this year for China’s oil and gas
companies have been worth $18.6 billion, already eclipsing the
$15.8 billion in deals for all of 2009, according to Thomson
Reuters data.
(Additional reporting by Alison Leung and Kelvin Soh; Writing
by Doug Young; Editing by Lincoln Feast)
([email protected]; + 65 6870 3277; Reuters
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UPDATE 3-CNOOC, GNPC bid $5 bln for Kosmos Ghana assets -source