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Morning Brief: Surging Chinese Investment in North American Energy

by Jonathan Masters
March 6, 2012

Chairman of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Fu Chengyu speaks in Los Angeles (Fred Prouser/Courtesy Reuters). Chairman of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Fu Chengyu speaks in Los Angeles (Fred Prouser/Courtesy Reuters).

Chinese investment into North American energy is surging (WSJ), with over $17 billion invested since the start of 2010, yet political opposition is quiet even though China’s state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is a leading investor. CNOOC’s $18.5 billion bid for California-based Unocal was withdrawn in 2005 in the face of political opposition, but Chinese tactics have changed. Rather than whole acquisitions, Chinese firms are buying minority stakes and making upfront project investments while keeping a passive role and often keeping advanced U.S. technology at arm’s length. In exchange, China—the world’s largest consumer of energy since 2009—gains not only strong investment returns, but an entry into North American markets and sometimes even exposure to U.S. technology and management techniques.

The CFR Policy Innovation Memorandum “Fostering Greater Chinese Investment in the United States,” looks at what the United States should be doing to attract greater foreign investment from China.

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Education and Human Capital

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Corporate Regulation and Taxation

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