'Significant' China, Saskatchewan Energy Deal in The Works -Official

SHANGHAI (Dow Jones Newswires), Jan. 19, 2011

A "significant" energy deal is in the works between China and the Saskatchewan province of Canada, the managing director of Saskatchewan's trade and investment representative office in Shanghai said Wednesday.

The deal could be finalized by May, Richard Choi told Dow Jones Newswires, without specifying whether the deal involves the governments or companies of the two countries.

In a separate agreement, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. and the Ministry of Energy and Resources of Saskatchewan have agreed to extend a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in energy exploration technology, he said.

Saskatchewan Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd and a small delegation will be in Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo from Jan. 16-28 to promote investment opportunities in mineral exploration, oil and oil sands projects in the province, as well as to investigate potential areas of collaboration in value-added energy research, according to the provincial government website.

Chinese energy companies have in recent years been investing in Canadian energy resources such as oil sands and uranium in a bid to secure the supplies needed to meet robust domestic energy demand.

Saskatchewan-based Cameco said in November that it had signed an agreement with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. to supply 29 million pounds of uranium concentrate under a long-term agreement through 2025.

The deal followed another agreement in June under which Cameco will supply China National Nuclear Corp. with approximately 23 million pounds of uranium concentrate through 2020.

China plans to build dozens more nuclear reactors over the decade as part of a strategy to curb greenhouse gases emissions. Uranium is the raw material for the fuel of such reactors.

Chinese companies have also been increasing investments in the oil sands industry in Canada, which has 176 billion barrels of oil reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia. Of the total, about 170 billion barrels of those reserves are in oil sands.

In 2010 alone, the state-owned China Petrochemical Corp. bought a 9% stake in Syncrude, Canada's largest oil sands project, for $4.65 billion, and China Investment Corp., a sovereign wealth fund, bought a 45% stake in an oil sands project owned by Penn West Energy Trust for C$817 million.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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