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June 25, 2009 at 07:42 AM EDT
China Pays Too Much for Oil in Iraq - $16 A Barrel!
How much smarter is China than the US? Well let’s see - The US has spent $1,000,000,000,000 fighting in Iraq and thousands of our soldiers have died and we have secured ZERO barrels of oil for ourselves.  China was not part of the coalition of the willing but, for just $8.8Bn, they are getting 550 Million barrels of oil , almost the size of the US’s entire strategic petroleum reserve, through the purchase of Addax Petroleum, and 20% of those reserves are in Iraq .  While Bush filled our reserve up " at any price " and became the single largest buyer of crude in the world, filling our SPR at a rate of 2-3Mb a week at times, China simply waited patiently on the sidelines and is now coming in and buying wholesale.  That’s pretty smart! Of course patience is a renowned virtue of the Chinese and just one year after the US was paying over $100 a barrel to fill our own reserves , China’s Sinopec is doubling the country’s oil reserves with a single purchase at 1/6th the price.  Sure they have to pump it ($4 per barrel) and ship it ($3 per barrel) as it’s not local but sometimes you have to travel a little to find bargains.  Earlier this year, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani gave approval for foreign companies developing oil fields in the Kurdish region to export their crude directly to international markets. Addax was a beneficiary of the change and has been shipping oil since the start of this month.  Addax is one of the largest independent oil producers in West Africa and the Middle East by volume. Aside from Kurdistan, it operates off Nigeria, an area that has seen huge exploration success in recent years.  The company produced 136,500 barrels a day on average last year, or about 1.7% of China’s daily consumption. So why is China still paying too much for oil?  Sinopec is paying about $16 a barrel of proven and probable reserves. The average for African and Middle Eastern deals in 2008 — a year with triple-digit crude prices — was under $5 a barrel, according to consultants IHS Herold and Harrison Lovegrove & Co .  Throw in Addax’s possible reserves and contingent natural-gas reserves and the multiple drops to just over $7 a barrel of oil equivalent. Your average buyer would never factor in such rosy assumptions. But then Sinopec, 66%-owned by the Chinese government, isn’t your average…
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