* Canadian dollar firms on the news
* Gov't to impose stricter conditions on foreign investment
(Adds background on Nexen)
By Michael Erman and David Ljunggren
NEW YORK/OTTAWA, Dec 7 Canadian authorities
approved the acquisition of Nexen Inc by CNOOC Ltd
and the purchase of Progress Energy by
Petronas, easing months of anxiety over the fate of
foreign investments in Canadian resources.
The rulings, which has been closely watched by investors and
politicians alike, follow months of debate over how much of
Canada's energy sector should be controlled by foreign oil
The Canadian dollar firmed against the U.S. dollar after
Reuters reported the CNOOC deal had been approved.
The government also said it would impose stricter conditions
on investments by state-owned enterprises in the future, and
that it would welcome non-controlling minority investments by
such enterprises in Canadian firms.
CNOOC has offered $15.1 billion to buy Nexen, which has
Alberta oil sands assets and offshore operations in the North
Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Nigeria.
In approving the deal, the Canadian government said CNOOC
made significant commitments on transparency, employment and
CNOOC's takeover of Nexen was overwhelmingly approved by
Nexen shareholders in September, but the Canadian government
delayed approvals while it drafted a long-promised update to the
rules governing investments by state-owned foreign companies.
It also had to deal with the qualms of some of its own
members over whether companies from the communist country should
be allowed to buy up Canadian energy assets.
The acquisition brings CNOOC Nexen's 43 percent stake in the
Buzzard field in the North Sea, the most important contributor
to the crude blend used to set the Brent crude price that serves
as the international oil price benchmark.
It also includes oil production from Yemen, offshore West
Africa and the Gulf of Mexico.
CNOOC also gains full control of Nexen's Long Lake oil sands
project in northern Alberta, properties containing as much as
six billion barrels of recoverable crude and a 7.2 percent stake
in the Syncrude Canada Ltd joint-venture.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis had in October turned
down the C$5.2 billion ($5.3 billion) bid by Malaysian
state-owned energy company Petronas for Progress but
had given it a chance to make new representations.
(Additional reporting by Solarina Ho, Euan Rocha and Alastair
Sharp in Toronto; Writing by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Frank
McGurty, Bernard Orr, Tim Dobbyn and Leslie Gevirtz)