June 08, 2011
For energy and natural resource lawyers, one of the most exciting and lucrative areas of practice has been Chinese investment into Canadian oil and gas properties.
Phil Brown says China has certainly become a primary investor in Canada's energy sector. "What we decided about three or four years ago was that the China market was increasing their investments in the oil and gas sector, so we believe it's important to go there every year," he says. "They’re all resource hungry and Canada is quite a receptive market for transactions."
Many Chinese companies have concerns over regulatory approvals of their investments and qualifying under the Investment Canada Act, he says. Almost all do, but must be told about the rules if only to ease their concerns.
Ron Deyholos says there has been a lot of M&A activity from countries in the Pacific Rim over recent years. "It has primarily been China, but there are other Asian countries coming into Canada, such as Thailand and Korea."
He points to PTTEP, a Thai company that recently invested $2.28 billion into northern Alberta's oil sands in the largest investment to date by a Thai company.
Phil was involved in Torys' representation of China Investment Corporation in its 2009 C$1.7 billion acquisition of a 17% equity interest in Teck Resources. CIC has since opened an office in Toronto to facilitate its further investments into Canada’s natural resource sector.
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