May 2 (UPI) -- A trade mission to Asia that includes meetings with a Chinese oil company gives Alberta the chance to showcase its assets, its trade minister said.
Deron Bilous, the minister for economic trade and development in Alberta, leads a delegation to the United States and Asia to drum up business for the oil-rich province.
"Two years ago, we led the largest trade mission in Alberta's history - and since then, our missions have generated more than $1 billion (CAD) of investment leads and sales for our province," Bilous said in a statement. "This mission will build on that momentum."
A summit between Canadian oil and gas company Nexen and the China National Offshore Oil Corp., a summit that includes 17 other Alberta companies, is on his schedule. Six years ago, the Canadian government gave its approval for the $15 billion takeover of energy company Nexen Inc. by CNOOC. The deal was completed in 2013.
Conditions CNOOC agreed to included filing an annual compliance report to Industry Canada and investing "significant" capital in the Canadian energy sector.
Canada relies on the United States as its top export destination for key commodities like oil and soft lumber, but has reached out to Asian economies in an effort to diversify its economy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year issued a public call to weigh in on the possibilities of reaching a free-trade agreement with China.
The visit comes amid internal provincial disputes over plans by a consortium led by Kinder Morgan to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oil west to British Columbia. The United States and Canada, meanwhile, are locked in debates over the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Canada recently secured temporary relief from U.S. tariffs targeting steel and aluminum.
CNOOC in August announced the start of production at its Hangingstone project in Alberta. It has a peak rate of production of 20,000 barrels of a heavier type of oil called bitumen per day.