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Cnooc Parent Said to Seek $3 Billion Loans as Banks Prep Pledges

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Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- China National Offshore Oil Corp., parent of the nation’s biggest offshore energy explorer Cnooc Ltd., is seeking to raise $3 billion of loans, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The company has asked lenders for $2 billion in a one-year facility and $1 billion in a five-year portion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. It expects pledges from banks by Aug. 23, they said.

China National Offshore Oil is seeking more debt after Cnooc reported better-than-expected first-half profit growth, while saying oil and gas production wouldn’t see significant expansion in the second half. About 0.5 percent of the period’s profit was contributed by Canadian unit Nexen Inc., which it acquired in February with the help of a one-year $6 billion bridge loan.

A spokesman at Cnooc, who declined to be identified citing company policy, said the company doesn’t comment on market rumor and speculation when asked about the bank financing.

A $3 billion borrowing would be the seventh-biggest in the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The largest syndicated facility signed so far in 2013 has been an $8 billion deal for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in July, the data show.

Australia’s Origin Energy Ltd. today said it obtained A$7.4 billion ($6.7 billion) of bank loans to refinance debt.

Cnooc in May sold $4 billion of bonds in the biggest U.S. dollar-denominated offering from Asia outside Japan in more than nine years. Proceeds were used to partly repay the short-term loan the Beijing-based company used to buy Nexen. That loan facility is the region’s third-largest in 2013 making Cnooc Asia’s biggest borrower of bank debt this year outside Japan.

Cnooc earlier this month considered selling as much as $3 billion of U.S. dollar-denominated bonds, two people familiar with the matter said on Aug. 6.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paulina Duran in Sydney at pduran10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katrina Nicholas at knicholas2@bloomberg.net

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