CNOOC Files Nexen Deal to U.S. Regulators for Approval

SAN ANTONIO - CNOOC Ltd. said Tuesday it filed a request with U.S. regulators to review the giant Chinese oil company's proposed acquisition of Canadian oil and gas producer Nexen Inc., which has operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico deep-water.

The company "has now filed formally" with the Committee of Foreign Investment in the U.S., said Cnooc spokesman Peter Hunt. "We have emphasized that the deal poses no threat to U.S. national security." The committee reviews transactions by foreign investors to make sure they are compatible with U.S. national security.

The planned $15.1 billion acquisition is undergoing a 45-day review in Canada. But the deal also has to win approval in the U.S. because a small percentage of Nexen's assets are in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, an oil-and-natural-gas-producing region where companies drill thousands of feet below sea level. Cnooc already has investments in the U.S., including shale assets in Texas, but with Nexen it would be thrust into the driver's seat of deep-water operations in the Gulf, an environmentally sensitive area that in 2010 suffered a massive oil spill.

Mr. Hunt said in an email that Cnooc already has a presence in the U.S., where it complies with all laws; Nexen's U.S. assets would continue to be subject to all U.S. regulations. CNOOC also would "maintain and enhance Nexen's program of environmental protection and corporate social responsibility in the region."

U.S. regulators plan to give the deal close scrutiny, a U.S. Department of Energy official said earlier Tuesday. "Regulators are looking closely at this deal," said Sally Kornfeld, oil and international activities team leader for the Energy Department's Office of Oil and Gas Global Security Supply.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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