Sinopec's Canada Oil Sands Buy May Be Followed, Scotiabank's Waterous Says

China Petrochemical Corp.’s $4.65 billion purchase of an oil sands project may be followed by others as Canadian energy assets are shopped abroad to Asian and European firms, said Adam Waterous, head of global investment banking at Scotia Capital.

“Right now, the Canadian investment opportunities are at the top of the shopping menu on a global basis to these international companies,” Waterous said today in an interview in Toronto.

Korean National Oil Corp. and Sinopec are among the companies that bought Canadian energy assets over the last year to secure global resources. Korea National bought Harvest Energy Trust in December for C$4.11 billion ($4.09 billion), while China Petrochemical yesterday agreed to buy ConocoPhillips’s stake in Syncrude Canada Ltd.

The Syncrude investment is “symptomatic” of the type of deals being considered abroad, Waterous said. Scotia Capital, a unit of Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia, ranks eighth in Canada for advising on transactions in 2010, according to Bloomberg data.

“Asians have been extremely active in coming into North America,” said Waterous, 48. “But it’s not just Asians; it’s also Europeans coming into North America and making multi- billion dollar capital commitments.”

Waterous credits the interest on advancements in technology, a more “welcoming” political environment than in past decades, and foreign investment restrictions in some non- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

Waterous, who spends a third of his time outside North America, said Scotia Capital has an advantage over some investment banks because of its operations in about 50 countries. The company advised Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp. on its $500 million agreement announced last month to buy a 50 percent interest in BP Plc’s Kirby oil-sands project.

Bank of Nova Scotia is Canada’s third-biggest bank.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto at spasternak@bloomberg.net.

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