Norway Deputy Oil Minister To Meet CNOOC As Oslo-Beijing Relations Thaw
OSLO, April 5 (Reuters) - Norway's deputy oil minister will meet top executives of China's biggest offshore oil producer CNOOC on Thursday to discuss possible cooperation ahead of the first visit by a Norwegian prime minister to China in a decade, officials said.
CNOOC, which operates the 140,000 barrels per day Buzzard field offshore Britain via its subsidiary Nexen, said in 2010 it would be interested to come to Norway.
The row over the Nobel Peace Prize award to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, chosen by a Norwegian committee that same year, froze relations between the two countries.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg will be in Beijing on April 7-10 to meet President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang and other Chinese officials, in the first visit by a Norwegian premier since the countries resumed full diplomatic relations in December.
Norway's Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde will meet the number two executive at CNOOC on April 6, the oil ministry and business lobby group Norwegian Energy Partners told Reuters.
"We have had a very good relationship with Chinese oil companies, and we want to get back to the situation before the Nobel peace prize and all the problems with China," said Haakon Skretting from Norwegian Energy Partners.
Solberg will take executives from several top Norwegian companies, including oil firm Statoil, to China.
Statoil, which has had an office in Beijing since 1982, said China was a key market, with sales to its refineries at roughly 100,000 barrels per day, in addition to LPG and other products.
Companies such as Kuwait's Kufpec and Russia's Gazprom have also recently shown an interest in Norwegian oil assets and technology.
"Norway provides opportunities to gain know-how and learn about new technologies in order to bring them back home later," Daniel Rennemo, head of PricewaterhouseCoopers's Norway oil and gas transactions team, told Reuters.
"It remains attractive due to it resource potential, highly qualified workforce, stable geopolitics and attractive tax regime, while companies like Statoil have also managed to cut costs significantly."
(Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Terje Solsvik, editing by David Evans)
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