COMMODITY / ENERGY BRIEFS

COMMODITY / ENERGY BRIEFS

TAIWAN AND CHINA

TO SEEK OIL TOGETHERTAIPEI, Taiwan - Tense neighbors Taiwan and China have tentatively agreed to explore for oil together in seas off southern China, officials said.

The exploration project off the Pearl River Delta was announced last week by both countries, as Chinese and Taiwanese oil executives and experts concluded a two-day seminar on oil technology.

China's China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Taiwan's Chinese Petroleum Corp. are expected to sign the final agreement in a year.

Pei Bei-yu, vice president of the Taiwanese firm, said the company

plans to invest through its subsidiary in Panama to skirt a ban on direct investment in China.

Tension between the two countries has been on the rise since Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's unofficial June visit to the United States. The visit infuriated China, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province with no right to pursue foreign diplomacy.

ARCO TO BID FOR LUKOIL

CONVERTIBLE BONDS

LOS ANGELES - Atlantic Richfield Co. said it intended to bid up to $250 million in a tender offer for convertible bonds to be issued by Russian oil company Lukoil.

Arco noted that its announcement confirmed an earlier disclosure by Lukoil concerning the bid.

Arco said its bid was subject to limits that prevent it from acquiring bonds convertible into more than 7.99 percent of Lukoil's voting securities.

The company said it intends to make no further comment until the tender is completed in late September.

Arco also said it is discussing possible oil and gas joint ventures with Lukoil.