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Page added on February 27, 2007

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Kenya: China Selling Off Oil Rights It Got for Free

There was outrage among European oil exploration companies interested in Kenya when it emerged last week that the state-owned National Oil Corporation of China – CNOOC – has quietly put out notices offering to farm out to third parties some of the oil exploration blocks granted to it by President Mwai Kibaki in April last year.

In an unprecedented act of generosity, the government of Kenya last April gave the Chinese exclusive rights over a total of six out of 11 available blocks, including the hotly contested Blocks 9 and 10A in the Mandera area.
Major European oil exploration companies have protested that they were unable to access Kenya even as the country emerges as the new frontier in the ferocious global battle between Europe and China for the world’s oil resources.


So dominant has China become in the oil exploration scene in Kenya that CNOOC alone now controls 28 per cent of the total oil exploration acreage in Kenya.


The latest action by the Chinese is deeply controversial, coming only months after CNOOC refused pleas by the Ministry of Energy to partner with Cepsa of Spain or Lundin of Sweden and allow the Europeans to explore for oil in some of the acreage the Chinese were literally hoarding.


In the brochure the Chinese put out in London, they said they were willing to farm out to third parties at a fee the acreage Kenya has given them for free.

AllAfrica



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