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March 17, 2010 2:55 PM

Akin Gump, Baker & McKenzie Tapped for $3 Billion Chinese Joint Venture

Posted by Claire Zillman

This story has been updated to include the full list of Baker & McKenzie partners who worked on the deal.

In a deal that will increase its production and reserves, the Chinese state-owned energy company Cnooc, Ltd., will purchase half of Bridas Corporation, Argentina's second-largest oil producer.

Cnooc announced plans Sunday to pay $3.1 billion for a 50 percent stake in Bridas Corporation. Bridas is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridas Energy Holding Ltd and could have its name changed once the deal is complete. 

Bridas Corporation has oil fields in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. It produces 92,000 barrels of oil a day and has reserves of 636 million barrels, according to The New York Times.

In its statement, Cnooc says the deal is in synch with its plans to extend its reach into Latin America. The Wall Street Journal reports that the energy company made an agreement in December to develop the Boyaca 3 oil block in the Orinoco belt in Venezuela. Earlier this month, Cnooc signed a deal to develop Iraq's Missan oil field, which is expected to produce 2.5 billion barrels. The Beijing-based oil company is also in talks with Tullow Oil PLC to acquire oil assets in Uganda, the Journal reports

Cnooc turned to Baker & McKenzie for counsel. The firm's team was led by partners Stanley Jia in Beijing and Bee Chun Boo in Shanghai. Partners Jonathan Cahn, Thomas Egan, Jr., Adolfo Duranona, Roberto Grane, Hugh Stewart, Jeremy Winter, Antonio Ortuzar, Jr., and Francisco Escat also worked on the deal. Boo did not immediately return requests for comment.

An Akin Gump Stauss Hauer & Feld team headed by Washington, D.C., partner James Langdon, Jr., represented Bridas, a longtime client of the firm. Langdon was joined by partners Steven Blakeley, Douglas Glass, Rick Burdick, Gemma Descoteaux, Seth Molay, Joseph Motes III, Mary O'Connor, Wynn Segall, James Tuite, and Justin Williams. Langdon was not immediately available for comment.

This is the second major energy deal of the week for Akin Gump. The firm advised Consol Energy Inc. on gas and oil matters in its $3.48 billion purchase of Dominion Resources on Monday.

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