China’s Relentless Hunt for Energy

The Wall Street Journal blog looks at new strategies by China’s energy companies to expand their resource base to satisfy the country’s growing taste for oil:

Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie says diesel, gasoline and gasoil demand in China is rising about 8% annually. China’s appetite for oil won’t peak until 2025, according to UBS.

To meet that demand, China’s biggest energy companies have gone on a buying spree. Last year was a record year for China’s oil and gas acquisitions, with $24.3 billion in deals, up from $17.1 billion in 2009, according to data provider Dealogic.

The largest Chinese deal, state-owned China Petrochemical’s acquisition of a 40% stake in Repsol’s Brazilian oil assets for $7.1 billion, signaled China’s expanding profile in Latin America, where it bought more assets than any other nation last year. It also showed the Chinese were willing to pay more than the market expected.

“The richest pickings are appearing in South America and to some extent Africa and Indonesia,” said Stephen Gore, head of M&A and corporate finance Asia at UBS.