April 15, 2014 / 9:52 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-China's Sinopec buys out Lukoil from Kazakh venture

* Deal worth $1.2 billion

* Lukoil sells around 30,000 bpd of oil production

* China already taking 240,000 bpd of Kazakh oil home (Adds detail on fields locations, trader comments)

MOSCOW, April 15 (Reuters) - China further strengthened its position in oil-rich Kazakhstan on Tuesday with its state firm Sinopec paying $1.2 billion to buy out Russia’s No.2 oil producer Lukoil from a venture there.

Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, will become the sole owner of Caspian Investment Resources Ltd after the deal is completed before the end of 2014, Lukoil said.

Lukoil’s 2013 share of production through the venture was around 30,000 barrels per day and output from various small fields that the venture controls will soon or has already peaked.

Kazakhstan holds 3 percent of the world’s recoverable oil reserves and is the second largest former Soviet oil producer after Russia.

Its three biggest projects - Tengiz, Karachaganak and Kashagan - are controlled by Western oil majors and the Kazakh state company.

Chinese firms have been expanding aggressively in ex-Soviet central Asia building pipelines to send oil and gas directly back home. In Kazakhstan they have accumulated ownership of small and mid-sized energy projects over the past decade.

The biggest Chinese venture in Kazakhstan is run by Sinopec’s rival CNPC and is producing a total of 50,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Kazakhstan produces around 1.7 million bpd and 240,000 bpd already goes directly to China.

Caspian Investment Resources’ fields are located mainly in the western part of Kazakhstan which means that some oil will continue flowing to Europe via Russia as opposed to going directly to China.

“It doesn’t matter who is the boss there. The flows will go to the most profitable destination, be it China or European markets,” a trader in Moscow said. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Alla Afanasyeva; Editing by William Hardy)

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