Canada says still examining options on CNOOC bid

Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:44pm EST
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* Canada seen shooting for decisions by Dec. 10 if not before

* One report said decision would be by Nov. 30

* No comment on report that Nexen may be asked to sell Syncrude stake

* Alberta premier says don't be hesitant about foreign investment

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The Canadian government is still mulling its options as deadlines near on two proposed foreign takeovers of domestic energy companies, but an official offered no clues on when or how Ottawa would announce the hotly debated decisions.

Andrew MacDougall, spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, did not comment on a report that the federal government might want China's CNOOC to sell the 7 percent stake that takeover target Nexen Inc holds in the large Syncrude oil sands joint venture, because fellow Chinese company Sinopec has a 9 percent stake in it.

"The government is examining its options," he said by email.

The Conservative government is trying to balance the need for foreign investment to develop natural resources with concern that China and other countries could snap up a big chunk of the energy sector, and that state-owned firms might not play by free-market rules.   Continued...