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CNOOC sees ink dry on Nexen deal

By Du Juan  (China Daily)

08:15, February 27, 2013

CNOOC Ltd's headquarters in Beijing. The company has signed about 200 cooperation agreements with 55 countries since 1982, helping it muster rich foreign experience. Provided to China Daily

China's largest-ever overseas acquisition was officially completed on Tuesday, marking a major step in the country's progress in the global energy industry.

The $15.1 billion takeover by State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation of the Canadian oil and gas company Nexen Inc was first announced in July.

After seven months of regulatory approvals, the deal was closed at the Calgary headquarters of Nexen and confirmed by Yang Hua, the president of CNOOC.

"It is a day worth remembering," he said.

The takeover gives China's biggest offshore oil and gas explorer control of a company with assets in western Canada, the UK's North Sea, West Africa and Gulf of Mexico, as well as producing properties in the Middle East and Canada.

The acquisition will increase CNOOC's proven oil and gas reserves by 30 percent and its output by 20 percent, and provide it with valuable technology assets, especially in shale gas exploration.

But it's the assets in the North Sea which are being seen as particularly significant.

"The deal helps CNOOC participate in the North Sea oil and gas business for the first time, which is in accordance with the company's long-term strategy," said Yang.

"CNOOC has attached great importance to the North Sea region, an area that cannot be omitted by any major global oil player," he added.

"We have been waiting for the right time and the right opportunity to make our move."

In fact, the company has been paying close attention to Nexen since December 2006.

The acquisition decision was made based on CNOOC's three key evaluation standards - resources, return and risk, according to Yang.

"We need to examine the risks the company and our shareholders can stand, which is the most difficult part in balancing the timing and price of any acquisition," he said.

Lin Boqiang, director of the Xiamen-based China Center for Energy Economic Research, said the timing of the global financial crisis was a key factor in the deal being done, especially in the high-capital energy industry.

"It was bad news for the global economy, but could certainly be considered a good thing for acquirers.

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