LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Reports that China’s state-owned oil company CNOOC is bidding for up to 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent in Nigeria’s current licensing round, contained in a letter leaked to the Financial Times, look like a negotiating tactic rather than a sign Nigeria is about to sell a sixth of its proven reserves to China.
The letter from President Umaru Yar’Adua’s office to CNOOC’s representative Sunrise, rejecting the company’s bid terms as “unacceptable” but promising to consider an improved offer, can only have reached the media from the president’s office or the oil company. Since the company has no interest in leaking a rejection letter, we can only assume it came from the Nigerian side.