CALGARY (Dow Jones)--Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. (ATH.T) said it was exercising an option to sell a minority stake in one of its oil-sands prospect to PetroChina Co. (PTR), giving full ownership of such a project to a Chinese company for the first time.
Early Tuesday, Athabasca said it would sell a 40% interest in the MacKay River project in northern Alberta to PetroChina for C$680 million ($669 million.) In 2010, Athabasca sold 60% stakes in MacKay and a separate development, Dover, to PetroChina for C$1.9 billion.
Chinese oil companies PetroChina, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (600028.SH), known as Sinopec, and CNOOC Ltd. (CEO) have all invested heavily in Canada's oil patch. Chinese firms have typically sought to buy into minority stakes in projects or companies. But last year, interest in buying whole companies ratcheted up significantly.
Last year, Sinopec paid C$2.2 billion for Daylight Energy Ltd., a Canadian conventional oil and natural-gas company. In 2010, it paid $4.65 billion for a stake in the massive Syncrude oil-sands project in Alberta. Also last year, CNOOC bought the bankrupt oil-sands producer OPTI Canada Inc.
Canada holds the world's third-largest reserves of oil. Most of those are oil-sands--essentially a mix of bitumen and quartz sand--located in the western Canadian province of Alberta. Oil-sands output has grown quickly, and Alberta and Canadian officials have sought out new markets.
That's been particularly the case after the U.S. State Department late last year delayed a decision on a pipeline proposed to carry oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said it would actively market its oil to Asian buyers, including China. The federal government has said it backs the construction of another pipeline running from Alberta to the Pacific Ocean, where oil could be loaded onto tankers bound for Asia.
The MacKay sale comes less than a week after Alberta regulators approved th
He said China was out growing the USA, He's done about all he could,.... to see it happen........ The Occupier of The Oval . Trixys President, now wants your guns. Will be nice to see a vote. In the Senate and the House,that way we will know our enemy. Bet their all Lib Dems, Dems don't pay much attention to politics. They do look to see whos attacking the right to bare arms. Lots of Dems are NRA members....... Just Sayin they can't stay stupid long