Monday's deal could lead to a new round of regulatory hurdles for Chinese operators looking to gain control of U.S. assets -- Nexen owns assets in the Gulf of Mexico -- after regulatory authorities and Congress blocked CNOOC's $18.5 billion bid for Unocal in 2005. Still, there are those who believe the political resistance to outright acquisitions of North American assets by Chinese energy companies never made sense.
"The Unocal bid was derailed by negative press and myopic rhetoric by a few ignorant politicians," says Fadel Gheit an oil and gas analyst with Oppenheimer & Co., who notes that in the aftermath of the deal breakup, the country has remained a large U.S. energy investor. "CNOOC has invested in unconventional JVs with US independents, which benefit both and should increase our domestic production," adds Gheit. The analyst believes Chinese firms should be able to invest more freely in the U.S. since oil is a global business.
Even if outright M&A may remain politically challenging in the U.S., Chinese players like CNOOC, Sinopec and PetroChina will continue to test the waters. "CNOOC is sitting on a pile of cash and has been aggressively seeking energy acquisitions for the last five years, reflecting China's hunger for energy and oil in particular, and I expect this trend to continue," says Gheit.
Bloomberg reported that
(MRO - Get Report) was in talks to sell its Angolan offshore operations to Sinopec and other Asian buyers for $800 million. Reports also indicate that Marathon may look to sell 30% of a joint venture in its Gulf of Mexico deepwater assets for $1 billion to Asian buyers as part of the Houston -based company's