China’s state-run Zhenhua Oil has signed a preliminary deal with Chevron to buy the US oil major’s natural gas fields in Bangladesh that are worth about $2 billion, two Beijing-based Chinese oil executives said. Zhenhua is a subsidiary of China’s defense industry conglomerate NORINCO. A completed deal would mark China’s first major energy investment in the South Asian country, where Beijing is competing with New Delhi and Tokyo for influence, according to Reuters. Bangladesh, though, holds the right of first refusal on the assets and could block the transaction. The country, via its national oil company Petrobangla, is keen to buy the gas fields and is talking to international banks to raise financing, according to a banking source familiar with the process. Zhenhua Oil is a small oil and gas explorer.
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