"The Chinese state-owned companies are considered more menacing in a sense by some people than, say, a national oil company of Malaysia," he said. "We need to figure out how do we treat China? Is this potentially treating China as an enemy? Or do you treat China as a business partner?" A year before their acquisition deal was announced, Progress and Petronas formed a partnership to jointly develop shale natural gas in northeastern British Columbia and look at exporting the gas off the West Coast in liquid form. CNOOC and Nexen also had a pre-existing relationship. Last year, CNOOC scooped up Opti Canada, Nexen's beleaguered minority partner in its troubled Long Lake oilsands project. The two firms also worked together in the Gulf of Mexico.