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CNOOC: No acquisition aims

CHINA'S offshore oil specialist CNOOC has no plans to buy oil firms abroad during the global financial crisis, and will look instead for foreign partners to make joint investments, Chairman Fu Chengyu said yesterday.

Awash with capital and facing strong domestic demand for fuel, Chinese energy firms have been encouraged by the government to take advantage of the financial crisis to make overseas acquisitions.

Fu said that due to ever-intensifying protectionism and the lack of understanding about Chinese companies, CNOOC, as China National Offshore Oil Corp is known, had to adjust its overseas expansion strategy.

"Our company will not engage in any deals of acquiring other firms in the next couple of years. Instead, we will seek partners who need to make investments and form joint ventures with them," Fu told a session of the Boao Forum for Asia.

"This is our future strategy. At least during the financial crisis, we will not buy other firms," he added.

CNOOC, the parent of CNOOC Ltd, has been snubbed in overseas acquisitions, most notably in 2005 when United States political opposition blocked CNOOC Ltd's US$18.5 billion bid for oil company Unocal.

China in recent months has signed a series of loan-for-oil pacts with oil producers Kazakhstan, Russia, Brazil and Venezuela.

CNOOC has offered 17 offshore blocks for foreign cooperation this year, although most attracted little interest.

CNOOC normally teams up with foreign firms to hunt for oil and gas off China's shores, but once a commercial find is made, CNOOC holds the right to take a 51-percent stake in the discovery.


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