Nexen chief executive says CNOOC deal not yet done

Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:32pm EST
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By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The $15.1 billion takeover of Canadian oil and gas producer Nexen Inc NXY.TO by China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK: Quote) is not yet wrapped up despite the Canadian government's blessing after months of heated debate, Nexen's chief executive said on Monday.

"We are nowhere near done," Nexen interim CEO Kevin Reinhart told Reuters as he left a business conference about economic ties between Canada and Asia. He declined to give his reaction to Ottawa's decision on Friday to approve the deal, saying it was too early.

A further decision on the high-profile transaction still rests with a secretive U.S. foreign investment panel, which gets a say because Nexen has exploration and production assets in the Gulf of Mexico.

Investors had been assuming that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's green light on Friday - after deliberating on how much control foreign state-owned enterprises may have over the country's energy resources - would be the biggest hurdle.

Reinhart would not give details on what else was needed before the deal could close. "It's in the press release, so that's all I'm going to say," Reinhart said.

In a statement released early on Saturday, Nexen and CNOOC said the deal's closing remained subject to "the receipt of other applicable government and regulatory approvals, and the satisfaction or waiver of the other customary closing conditions."

A source familiar with the matter highlighted the ruling by Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, as the main regulatory decision still remaining.

"That's the principal one," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the matter. He would not speculate how long the committee, which is led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, might take to rule.   Continued...

Kevin Reinhart interim Chief Executive Officer and President at Nexen votes during the Nexen special meeting of shareholders in Calgary, Alberta September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Todd Korol