Sinopec buys share of Apache Corp.’s Egypt business for $3.1 billion

Houston-based Apache Corp. is selling a third of its oil and gas business in Egypt to China’s Sinopec for $3.1 billion cash, in what the companies described Thursday as part of a global exploration and production partnership.

The sale is the latest in a multibillion-dollar portfolio rebalancing by Apache that this summer alone has included the sale of Canadian producing assets for $214 million earlier this month and shallow-water Gulf of Mexico producing assets for $3.75 billion in July.

If the latest deal closes in the fourth quarter as the companies expect, it will push the Houston oil and gas independent well beyond the $4 billion in asset sales it had predicted for 2013 — a prospect CEO G. Steven Farris had hinted at when the company announced the Gulf sale July 18.

Apache will continue to operate the Egyptian business.

Farris said in a statement Thursday that the deal with Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corp. combines the Chinese company’s technical expertise with Apache’s 20 years of experience in Egypt.

“Sinopec is an ideal partner for us, and we look forward to the growth and value generation ahead for both companies through the expansion of our collaboration to other projects,” Farris said.

The Egypt partnership is subject to regulatory approval.

Apache station: Gas for $1.52 in the heart of Houston

Apache said average daily net production last year from its operations in Egypt was 100,000 barrels of oil and 354 million cubic feet of natural gas.

The company said it employs 9,000 Egyptians directly or through joint ventures.

Political turmoil and violence has roiled Egypt since the ouster of strongman Hosni Mubarakin 2011 and elected President Mohammed Morsi in early July.

But Apache said its operations are in remote areas “unaffected by political events in the region.”