Spanish oil major Repsol said on Thursday it had received several offers for a stake in its Argentine unit, YPF, after a newspaper said Chinese state oil companies were mulling bids.
China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), the country's largest oil company, plans to revive a $17 billion bid for the Argentinean unit of Spanish oil major Repsol-YPF (REP.MC: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday, citing sources.
CNPC, the parent of Asian top oil and gas producer PetroChina, may offer to buy up to three quarters of YPF, the newspaper said, adding that top offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC ( was also eyeing a 25 percent stake.
Repsol has been looking to sell a stake in its Argentine unit for some time and has been considering a public share offer.
Repsol has received proposals of a different nature and from different companies, without any of them being firm, the Spanish company said in a statement.
Repsol shares were up 2.0 percent at 16.53 euros by 0851 GMT, when the DJ Stoxx European oil and gas sector index was down 1.2 percent.
A sale could be good news for the company, analysts said, by reducing its exposure to Latin America where price controls, imposed contract changes and seizure of assets by governments has hit the value of investments.
However, Repsol's chief executive said categorically earlier this month that, he was not in talks with either Argentine investors nor Chinese investors regarding YPF.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said a sale of a 20-25 percent stake in the unit was a more plausible scenario.
We believe that 1) Repsol does not want to give up control of YPF and that 2) The Argentine government would prefer to see more of YPF in local hands. The first point implies that a 75% sale is unlikely, analysts at the bank said in a research note.
Representatives from CNPC and CNOOC were not available for comment when contacted by Reuters.
The companies have been keen buyers of overseas energy assets in recent years, as they fulfil a government order to secure energy to fuel the country's fast-growing economy.
Chinese state oil companies have shown themselves prepared to pay prices for assets which Western oil companies are unwilling to match, and to invest in locations where political risks deter their Western peers. (Additional reporting by Tom Bergin and Sui-Lee Wee in Hong Kong; editing by Greg Mahlich and Simon Jessop)