BEIJING/DHAKA Feb 22 China's state-run Zhenhua
Oil has signed a preliminary deal with Chevron to buy
the U.S. oil major's natural gas fields in Bangladesh that are
worth about $2 billion, two Beijing-based Chinese oil executives
Zhenhua is a subsidiary of China's defence industry
conglomerate NORINCO. A completed deal would mark China's first
major energy investment in the South Asian country, where
Beijing is competing with New Delhi and Tokyo for influence.
Bangladesh, though, holds the right of first refusal on the
assets and could block the transaction. The country, via its
national oil company Petrobangla, is keen to buy the gas fields
and is talking to international banks to raise financing,
according to a banking source familiar with the process.
Bangladesh is in the process of hiring global energy
consultant Wood Mackenzie to assess the fields' reserves before
placing a formal bid to buy the assets, two Bangladesh sources
familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Bangladesh sources said they were not aware of Zhenhua
Oil's competing interest in the Chevron fields.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu in BEIJING and Ruma Paul in DHAKA;
Additional reporting by Anshuman Daga in SINGAPORE; Editing by