Ottawa says China not the only potential investor in Canada's oil

Fri Sep 7, 2012 4:54pm EDT
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By Jim Morris

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - China is not the only possible source of the massive investment that Canada needs to develop its oil-rich tar sands and other energy assets, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Friday.

Cash-rich Chinese companies are showing an increased interest in Canadian oil and gas and Ottawa is currently reviewing a $15.1 billion takeover bid for Canadian oil company Nexen Inc NXY.TO by Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK: Quote).

The CNOOC bid is causing political tensions, since some members of the governing Conservative Party are uneasy about the idea of a state-owned Chinese company buying assets in Canada.

Oliver -- who says Canada's energy patch needs at least C$650 billion ($665 billion) in investment over the next decade -- dismissed the suggestion that China was the sole nation with access to such sums.

"China is not the only source of capital in the world. We have had investment from the United States, more from the United States than any other country," he told reporters in Vancouver.

That said, if the CNOOC bid is approved, Chinese investment in the tar sands and Canadian energy assets in the last year alone will have hit more than C$20 billion, far more than any other country over the same period.

Oliver cited France, the Netherlands, Japan and Malaysia as other investors.

"We are welcoming and our regulatory system does not discriminate against foreign companies once they arrive. So Canada is a destination for a lot of foreign capital. We want to continue to make it that way," he said.   Continued...