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Сhina considers investing $40 billion in US shale oil

Published time: March 07, 2013 13:18
Security guards stand outside the headquarters of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) (AFP Photo / Peter Parks)

Security guards stand outside the headquarters of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) (AFP Photo / Peter Parks)

China National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s state-run oil major, is looking for its first stake in the US, as the three largest Chinese oil companies together plan to spend $40 billion to access US crude riches.

The announcement came on Wednesday from Jiang Jiemin, the chairman of china's biggest oil company during the National People’s Congress in Beijing, Bloomberg reports. “We are currently studying [investing in US oil], ” Jiang Jiemin said.

Last month CNPC's domestic competitor China Petrochemical Corporation agreed to buy a stake in an Oklahoma oil field from Chesapeake Energy for $1.02 billion.

A trend is unfolding for Chinese oil companies to use government loans to buy stakes in the US energy fields.

“Stake participation by Chinese companies in US oil fields would be welcomed,” a London-based analyst for Global Energy & Natural Resources at Eurasia Group, Will Pearson told Bloomberg. “Full buyouts will continue to be scrutinized and opposed.”

China already owns many entire oil and gas fields across Canada and Latin America, Africa and Australia. However the US is not rushing to sell off their fields, especially in the regions where military or other technology can be accessed for fear of intellectual property theft, Pearson said. In September 2012 President Obama barred a Chinese-owned company from building wind farms near a US Navy base in Oregon as a national security risk.

“The Chinese want to gain experience in shale gas, oil sands and deep water so they can redeploy the best US practices and technologies” back in China says Mirae Asset Securities Ltd. analyst Gordon Kwan.

China has already invested a record $1.52 billion purchasing stakes in oil and natural gas fields in the US this year, Bloomberg reports. China National Petroleum alone plans to double overseas production to 200 million tonnes a year by 2015.