Sinopec Says Canada Isn’t Closed to State-Owned Companies

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- China Petrochemical Corp.’s international unit is weighing Canada’s new foreign-takeover rules and believes there are still opportunities to invest in the oil sands.

“We can still work by the joint-venture model or some other kind,” Hou Hongbin, a Beijing-based vice president of Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production, told reporters in Toronto yesterday. Canada hasn’t “closed the door” to state-owned company investment, he said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Dec. 7 allowed Chinese state-owned Cnooc Ltd. to acquire Calgary-based Nexen Inc. for $15.1 billion. Harper also announced that state-owned companies would not be allowed to acquire controlling interests in Canadian oil-sands businesses in the future except under “exceptional circumstances.”

That clause “still puzzles me a little bit,” Hou said at a Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers conference.

Sinopec International bought Calgary-based oil and natural gas producer Daylight Energy Ltd. a year ago for C$2.2 billion ($2.23 billion).

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Penty in Calgary at rpenty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net