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Announcement:

Moody's comments on CNOOC Ltd's additional investment in Bridas Corporation

Global Credit Research - 29 Nov 2010

Hong Kong, November 29, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service says today that CNOOC Ltd's Aa3 issuer and senior unsecured ratings are not immediately affected by the company's additional equity investment of US$2.47 billion in its 50% joint-venture Bridas Corporation ("Bridas").

The investment represents CNOOC Ltd's share of funding contributions for Bridas to purchase a remaining 60% interest in Pan American Energy, which is engaged in E&P operations in Latin America. Bridas plans to fund 70% of its purchase by equity and 30% by debt or additional contributions from shareholders.

CNOOC Ltd is funding its equity contribution to Bridas with internal resources on hand. The transaction would give CNOOC Ltd in South America an additional 429 million BOE of proved reserves and 68,000 BPD daily production. Completion of the transaction is expected to take place during 1H2011, subject to, among other things, all necessary government and regulatory approvals.

"This additional equity contribution by CNOOC Ltd in Bridas is a continuation of its investment in the Latin American upstream business, which commenced earlier in 1H2010 when it invested in the Bridas joint venture," says Renee Lam, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst.

"Such an investment is in line with the company's strategy of growing reserves partly through overseas acquisitions, and it has adequate liquidity to support the transaction," says Lam.

"Nonetheless, we note a continued reduction of CNOOC Ltd's balance sheet liquidity, which has been an important driver of its strong credit profile," says Lam.

"Further large reserve acquisitions may start to pressure its stand-alone A2 rating. However, its final Aa3 rating may tolerate a certain degree of deterioration in its stand-alone credit profile, given its high level of support from its parent, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Aa3/stable), which is directly owned by China's State Council," says Lam.

In June 2010, the company had cash-on-hand of approximately US$4.7 billion, excluding any other forms of free deposits or investments at approximately US$2.1 billion. The cash balance should be adequate to cover this additional investment in Bridas, as well as an upfront payment of US$1.08 billion for its investment in Eagle Ford Shale announced earlier this month.

The company's reported debt has grown from RMB18.7 billion at December 2009 to RMB28.3 billion at June 2010, partly because of its 50% acquisition in Bridas at US$3.1 billion earlier this year. Moody's estimates the company's adjusted debt/proved developed reserves at US$3.5-4.0/BOE in June 2010. Moody's had previously commented that CNOOC Limited's stand-alone rating may be pressured if its adjusted debt/proved developed reserves stays consistently above US$4.0/BOE.

The last rating action with respect to CNOOC Ltd was taken on November 11, 2010, when its rating was upgraded to Aa3 with a stable outlook, following Moody's upgrade on the Peoples Republic of China (PRC)'s ratings.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Global Independent Exploration and Production (E&P) Industry published in December, 2008.

CNOOC Ltd, headquartered in Hong Kong, is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations mainly concentrated in offshore China. It is 64% owned by China National Offshore Oil Corp.

Hong Kong
Renee Lam
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Hong Kong
Gary Lau
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)

Moody's comments on CNOOC Ltd's additional investment in Bridas Corporation
No Related Data.
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