BEIJING—Chinese state-owned oil producer Sinopec has expanded its Middle East presence with the $3.1 billion purchase of a stake in an Egyptian oil and gas production operation.
U.S.-based Apache Corp. is selling a 33 per cent stake in its Egypt operation to Sinopec as the first step in forming a global partnership to pursue oil and gas projects.
China’s state-owned oil industry, flush with cash from the country’s economic boom, is buying minority stakes or outright control of oil and gas fields in the Middle East and elsewhere to profit from future global demand.
Some of those projects are in areas such as southern Iraq that Western oil companies consider too dangerous or in politically shunned nations such as Sudan.
Apache said the latest sale includes oil and gas production assets in Egypt’s Western Desert. It said the remote, unpopulated area has not been affected by political developments in Egypt.
Apache’s Egyptian operations produced about 100,000 barrels of oil and 354 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2012, according to the company.
Sinopec rival China National Petroleum Corp., China’s biggest oil producer, has invested heavily in Iraq.
Sinopec, also known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., is Asia’s largest oil refiner by volume and China’s second-biggest producer. However it has been slapped with sanctions from China’s environmental watchdog for not sufficiently controlling its pollution output.