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Chinese National Oil Companies in Ghana: The Cases of cnooc and Sinopec

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For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

This article uses the case of Ghana to provide insight into the policies and strategies used by, as well as the cooperation between, Chinese state actors in their quest for natural resources in Africa. In 2007, Ghana discovered commercial quantities of oil. While the so-called Jubilee oilfield was initially divided amongst primarily Western oil companies, in 2010 the China National Offshore Oil Corporation partnered with Ghana’s national oil company to try and purchase a stake in Jubilee. Although this bid was rejected, later that year a second Chinese state-owned oil company, Sinopec, was able to access Ghana’s oil indirectly through an offtaker agreement, linked to a $3 billion dollar loan provided by the state-owned China Development Bank. The article uses these two cases to examine the level of coordination between the strategies of Chinese state actors in their attempts to access African natural resources. It shows that China’s national oil companies and policy banks operate in increasingly autonomous ways. This goes against the developmental state thesis, which argues that the Chinese state has full control over the overseas activities of its state actors. The article also shows that national political institutions in Africa can make use of and are able to influence Chinese resource deals, countering the notion of African passivity.

Affiliations: 1: University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Sciences.hardus@uva.nl

10.1163/15691497-12341319
/content/journals/10.1163/15691497-12341319
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/content/journals/10.1163/15691497-12341319
2014-10-08
2017-11-20

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