major Total yesterday agreed to sell a 20 per cent stake in a Nigerian offshore oil field to China’s Sinopec for £1.6bn.
The deal will help the French oil group fund its ambitious exploration plans while giving China an additional foothold in overseas fuel production.
Total has penned a deal to sell the stake in the OML 138 block, which currently produces 130,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent and contains the Usan field, which started production in February.
The French group said in September it planned to sell assets worth between $15bn and $20bn in the period up to 2014 as part of a bolder approach to managing its business, which has seen it buy and sell assets more frequently.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil exporter and oil companies operating there have long had to deal with attacks on their pipelines and staff, with the country’s worst floods in 50 years seriously affecting their output over recent weeks.
Total’s chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, said earlier this month the group did not intend to disengage from Nigeria altogether.