China offers assurances on Nexen deal

Sept. 24, 2012 at 8:58 AM

OTTAWA, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The Chinese ambassador to Canada deflected criticism that a CNOOC bid to takeover a Canadian energy company was a sign of things to come.

Last week, shareholders at Nexen Inc., which has headquarters in Calgary, voted in favor of a $15 billion takeover bid from China National Offshore Oil Corp. offered in July.

Chinese Ambassador to Canada Zhang Junsai told The Globe and Mail newspaper from Ottawa that the proposal should be weighed against economic interests alone.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveled to Beijing this year to tout the business potential in his country. His critics, however, said the government should focus on domestic advancements rather than foreign acquisitions.

Zhang told the newspaper that "business is business," however, adding Beijing had no interest in taking over the oil and natural gas sector in Canada.

"(The Nexen deal) should not be politicized," he said. "If we politicize all this, then we can't do business."

CNOOC, under the terms of the proposal, would set up its regional headquarters in Calgary. The company would take on Nexen's assets in Canada, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria and the British North Sea.

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