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Chinese Oil Major signs cooperation agreement with Maltese company

Oil Intelligence understands that a Maltese Oil Company, British Borneo Petroleum, has signed an unusual cooperation agreement with Chinese Giant CNOOCI (China Offshore Oil Exploration Corporation Intl.) the largest offshore exploration company in China.

At first sight, the agreement raises more questions than it answers, but sources say that British Borneo Petroleum is the owned by British Borneo Holdings, the holding company of Malta based businessman Shiv Nair. In November last year we had highlighted Nair’s links with Kirsan Illyumzhinov, the President of Kalmykia, to whom he acts as special advisor. Nair was rumored to be the emissary of the Kremlin in the billion dollar deal to sell Oman’s shares in the Transcaspian pipeline to Russia. Neither Oman nor Transneft confirmed nor denied these rumors.

More recently, another company owned by British Borneo Holdings, Borneo Midmed, was involved in putting together a financing package using Chinese credit for building a railway line in the Caucasus from Georgia to Armenia. China railways are reputed to be the main contractors.

British Borneo Petroleum, which has an MOU with GNPC for the block adjacent to the giant Tullow block, is also reputed to be in discussions with CNPC, another Chinese major for the purchase of Kosmos’s block in the Jubilee field. Once again, Nair is reputed to be on close terms with the new government in Accra.

It would appear that CNOOC is getting unprecedented access to key decision makers in several African and South American countries, through British Borneo Petroleum, while the smaller Maltese company is getting all the benefits of Chinese financing and technological know-how. A win-win situation for all concerned

Svetlana Mannoukian, Oil Intelligence, Itar Tass News

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