UPDATE 4-Canada approves Nexen and Progress Energy bids

Fri Dec 7, 2012 5:30pm EST
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* Canadian dollar firms on the news

* Gov't to impose stricter conditions on foreign investment (Adds background on Nexen)

By Michael Erman and David Ljunggren

NEW YORK/OTTAWA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Canadian authorities approved the acquisition of Nexen Inc by CNOOC Ltd and the purchase of Progress Energy by Petronas, easing months of anxiety over the fate of foreign investments in Canadian resources.

The rulings, which has been closely watched by investors and politicians alike, follow months of debate over how much of Canada's energy sector should be controlled by foreign oil companies.

The Canadian dollar firmed against the U.S. dollar after Reuters reported the CNOOC deal had been approved.

The government also said it would impose stricter conditions on investments by state-owned enterprises in the future, and that it would welcome non-controlling minority investments by such enterprises in Canadian firms.

CNOOC has offered $15.1 billion to buy Nexen, which has Alberta oil sands assets and offshore operations in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Nigeria.

In approving the deal, the Canadian government said CNOOC made significant commitments on transparency, employment and capital investments.   Continued...