You often hear about how desperate China is for foreign resources, but the story seems a bit cliché after you read it over and over again. Can it really be that hungry for energy and metals?
Then you look at a company like Sinopec, and realize just how real the story is. Canadians should have a decent sense of this because our assets have already been scooped up by Chinese buyers, but for people outside our borders, Sinopec’s global activity would be pretty staggering when you lay it all out.
The state-owned company’s latest deal is the purchase of a 30-per-cent stake in the Brazilian assets of Galp Energia, worth $5.2-billion (U.S.) in total. That includes $3.5-billion for the stake plus $1.6-billion in capital expenditure. (Galp owns offshore drilling assets that will be expensive to develop.)
This purchase comes one month after Sinopec shelled out almost $3-billion (Canadian) for Canada’s Daylight Energy, after you add in debt. And then looking back a few years, Sinopec paid $7.1 (U.S.) for 40 per cent of Repsol's Brazillian arm in 2010, as well as $7.3-billion for Addax Petroleum in 2009 to pick up reserves in Iraq’s Kurdistan and West Africa.
There have also been smaller deals. This week Sinopec announced it has completed its purchase of an 80-per-cent stake in Pecten Cameroon Co. from Royal Dutch Shell for $538-million.
Combined, these alone total over $20-billion. And there could be more. There are rumours that Sinopec is looking to bid on Marathon Oil’s Angolan operations, which could snag $800-million, according to Bloomberg.
Overall, however, China’s total outbound acquisitions have dropped this year, totalling $37.6-billion, according to Thomson Reuters, down from $54.1-billion in 2010.