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Taiwan CPC acquires rights to search for oil, gas in waters off Belize

Taiwan CPC Vice General Manager Lin Mao-wen. (file photo) Lin said on Feb. 23 that CPC Corp. may spend NT$100 billion to build a refinery in the Talin...

Taiwan CPC Vice General Manager Lin Mao-wen. (file photo) Lin said on Feb. 23 that CPC Corp. may spend NT$100 billion to build a refinery in the Talin...

CPC Corp., Taiwan's state-owned refiner, acquired the rights to search for oil and gas in waters off Belize, one of the 23 countries that maintain diplomatic ties with the island.

CPC signed a contract with the Belize government for a 100 percent interest in a 4,800 square-kilometer (1,853 square-mile) offshore block, the Taipei-based company said in a statement on its Web site Thursday, without disclosing financial details.

The refiner, which has investments in Africa, Southeast Asia, the U.S., Australia and Latin America, is seeking to cut crude import costs by acquiring overseas oil assets, the company said in the statement. Belize, faced with high foreign debt, is keen to sell stakes in its oil fields to boost government revenue.

CPC last month bought a 30 percent share in a Kenyan exploration block from China National Offshore Oil Corp., the parent of Hong Kong-listed Cnooc Ltd. Taiwan imports more than 99 percent of its crude oil needs.

Most nations don't have formal relations with the government in Taipei because of objections from China, which considers Taiwan as part of its territory. Belize's external debt reached $1.2 billion as of June 2005, the CIA World Factbook showed.

Bordering Mexico and Guatemala, Belize produced an estimated 3,000 barrels of oil a day in 2007 and has 6.7 billion barrels of proven reserves, according to the CIA World Factbook.


Updated : 2021-02-28 21:39 GMT+08:00