CALGARY, Alberta, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Canadian lawmakers sparred over plans by a Chinese oil company to purchase oil and gas company Nexen, with divisions emerging over economic health.
China National Offshore Oil Corp. made a July offer of $15 billion for Nexen Inc. The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has warmed to energy-hungry Asian economies as a way to take advantage of Canada's vast oil and natural gas riches.
Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis was quoted by the Calgary Herald as saying the proposed takeover was under close watch but added "it is not the intention of the government to put the oil industry out of business."
Critics of the deal said domestic achievements should be encouraged rather than foreign acquisitions. Harper in 2010 thwarted a similar deal involving Australian mining company BHP Billiton because of pressure from provincial leaders.
CNOOC issued a voluntary request to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment to examine the offer. The U.S. government needs to review the deal because Nexen has operations in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and a critic of the proposal, called on U.S. officials to block the deal because it would give CNOOC the right to drill in U.S. waters royalty free.
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