SPECIAL REPORT-The education of China's oil company

Sun Oct 6, 2013 8:01pm EDT
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* U.S. uproar doomed CNOOC's attempt to buy Unocal in 2005

* Wooed political hearts in a successful bid for Canada's Nexen

* China says it bought Nexen for its huge oil and gas reserves

* Now questions arising over $15.1 bln price tag for deal

* U.S. shale gas bonanza impacting Canadian oil sands

By Charlie Zhu and Bill Powell

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Yang Hua was a rising star at Chinese oil giant CNOOC Ltd back in 2005. Then, the 44-year-old chief financial officer participated in one of corporate China's biggest belly flops ever.

Yang helped CNOOC , the publicly listed arm of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp, craft an $18.5 billion bid for Unocal Corp of Los Angeles. It turned into a debacle. Political opposition exploded in Washington, where the company had done little preparation. At home in Beijing, some board members revolted after being blindsided by the bid, and some of China's leaders were said to be queasy. CNOOC stood down and Unocal was sold to a rival, Chevron Corp.   Continued...