Chinese Oil Company Bids $15 Billion for Canadian Producer

China is making its biggest and boldest grab for overseas energy resources yet in a $15 billion deal for a Canadian oil producer. A takeover of Nexen by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, the Chinese state-run oil giant known as Cnooc, would give China a number of footholds in the Gulf of Mexico, Canadian oil sands in Alberta, North Sea and waters off Nigeria. Nexen deal, announced on Monday, is the latest effort by China to amass the natural resources it needs to stoke its powerful engine of growth. In particular, country’s leadership has been focused on reducing dependence on oil imports, as China consumes some 9 million barrels of oil a day, second only to United States. “From China’s point of view, the main issue has been energy security, and it always will be,” Paul Ting, independent energy analyst, said. And for Nexen, which is based in Calgary, deal will provide an alternative to a stagnant US market, where prices for Canadian oil have been weak. But the transaction, coming seven years after Cnooc abandoned an $18.5 billion bid for Unocal of the United States in face of heated political opposition to the deal, will be a huge test of whether regulators are now more willing to accept Chinese ownership of strategic assets. Regulators in Canada, United States and elsewhere will need to sign off on acquisition. Unease over China’s buying spree has lingered since failed Unocal takeover, dissuading many Chinese companies from bidding for outright control of strategic assets. Nearly 2 years ago, Sinochem, a Chinese chemicals maker, decided against a bid for Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, deciding that it could not ease nationalist concerns in Canada. (Canadian officials also rejected a $38.6 billion bid by BHP Billiton, British-Australian mining giant.) That has not stopped China from striking a number of deals in North America and Europe, though nearly all have been in form of minority stakes or joint ventures. Since 2005, Cnooc alone has announced eight partnerships with the likes of Chesapeake Energy and MEG Energy. And on Monday, one of Cnooc’s main rivals, Sinopec, agreed to pay $1.5 billion for 49% of North Sea operations of Talisman Energy, another Canadian oil company. The Chinese government has also plunged into areas that few private companies would consider worth the risk at the moment, reaching deals with suppliers in Africa and Venezuela. China does not directly ship a majority of the oil from its non-Asian production holdings back to its shores, but uses the oil extracted from those areas to trade with others in oil markets. And, perhaps more important, it has been garnering advanced production technologies to better draw oil and gas from nontraditional areas like deepwater fields and hardened rock formations. Some analysts, however, have been skeptical of China’s strategy, questioning both the price and quality of some of the country’s deals (…..)

Link: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/07/23/cnooc-to-buy-nexen-for-15-billion/

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

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