Monday, June 27, 2005

Oil expert urges US government not to interfere with CNOOC's deal

An influential oil expert said Friday that security concerns over China National Offshore Oil Company Ltd (CNOOC)'s deal with Unocal Corp. were unwarranted and warned that US intervention could make it harder for US oil firms togain access into international markets.

Oil analyst Fadel Gheit at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York said it would be the "pinnacle of hypocrisy" for the United States to put roadblocks in CNOOC's way, considering that President Bush and other government officials had repeatedly scolded Russia for not opening its doors wide enough to US oil companies.

"American companies must expand globally, but if we cut people off from coming into our country, other countries will just block our companies from doing the same," he said.

US Treasury Secretary John Snow said Thursday that the Bush government would review the takeover deal between CNOOC Ltd. and the US oil company for national security considerations.

Snow said he expected CNOOC and Unocal to submit documents for a security review. He chairs a federal panel that looks into possible security risks from foreign firms buying or investing in US companies.

Unocal on Wednesday received a merger proposal from CNOOC Ltd.,an affiliate of China National Offshore Oil Corp., which offers to acquire all outstanding shares of Unocal for 67 US dollars per share in cash or a total of 18.5 billion US dollars in cash.

Unocal is an independent natural gas and crude oil exploration and production company. Its principal activities are in North America and Asia.

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