China CNPC Wins First Rights to Explore Canada's Oil Sands

BEIJING Jun 29, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

China National Petroleum Corp. secured rights to explore oil sands in Canada's Alberta province, a breakthrough by the largest Chinese oil company in Canada, said a statement Friday on the Chinese Ministry of Commerce Web site.

The company's access to the oil sands comes after more than two years of talks with the Canadian government and local energy companies.

Alberta's energy authorities granted CNPC the exploration rights in January for 11 fields in a total area of 258.6 square kilometers, with estimated reserves of 2 billion barrels of bitumen, or heavy oil, an unidentified official from the international department of CNPC was quoted as saying.

CNPC became the first Chinese major oil company to win a majority stake in a Canadian oil sands project, it said.

The company was unavailable for comments.

China Petrochemical Corp., or Sinopec Group, the country's second largest oil company, took a 40% stake in Canada's Northern Lights project in 2005 with Calgary-based energy firm Synenco.

CNOOC Ltd. (CEO), the third largest oil company in China, acquired a 16.69% stake in privately-owned Canada-based MEG Energy Corp. in 2005.

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