The Chinese are being very aggressive in Africa looking for more sources of oil:
Just how wild is the bidding for good oil acreage these days? Over-the-top wild, to judge by a late May auction of tracts in the Congo Basin, off the coast of Angola. To land the licenses needed to explore three deepwater zones, oil companies from Italy, China, and elsewhere offered to pay an astronomical $3.1 billion in up-front fees (known in the industry as signature bonuses), plus $240 million to build schools and other social projects for the impoverished African country. To give a sense of the price inflation involved, in 1999, Angolan tracts in even deeper water brought in up to $350 million. The May bids were “the highest ever offered for exploration acreage anywhere in the world,” says Catriona O’Rourke, an analyst at Edinburgh consultants Wood Mackenzie, which has published an analysis of data provided by the Angolans.