Saturday, June 25, 2005

Oil: It's not just for breakfast Americans anymore.

"When China awakens, she will shake the world." - Napoleon Bonaparte

"Shake, shake, shake, shake your booty." - K.C. & The Sunshine Band

China is floating in a sea of dollars, but would rather float in a sea of oil. Incidentally, I just read in US News & World Report that the line for the Beijing Ikea parking lot is "almost an hour long, the norm for the weekend".

China exploring ways to use forex reserves to buy oil - report.

China to start filling strategic oil reserve at end of the year - CCTV.

CNOOC bids $18.5 billion for Unocal.


CNOOC's bid for Unocal puts the world on notice that China is ready to go head-to-head with oil-industry giants in a worldwide scramble for energy, analysts said Thursday.

The notice landed late Wednesday, when China's biggest offshore oil company, announced a formal bid for Unocal Corp., offering $18.5 billion for the California oil and gas producer.

The move pits China National Offshore Oil Company Ltd. (CEO: news, chart, profile) against U.S. giant Chevron Corp., (CVX: news, chart, profile) , which agreed April 4 to buy Unocal (UCL: news, chart, profile) in a deal Chevron had hoped to seal within the next several weeks.

"We have the feeling that the CNOOC/Chevron competition is just Round One in the fight for strategic energy resources among the world's leading energy organizations, including those in developing countries," Bernard Picchi, analyst at Foresight Research Solutions in New York.

A CNOOC-Unocal merger would also require paying Chevron a $500 million breakup fee.

If approved, a Unocal acquisition would more than double CNOOC's oil and gas output and boost its proven reserves by 80% to 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The news sent all three companies' share prices higher in afternoon action Thursday.

CNOOC chairman and CEO Fu Chengyu said he's confident the company's proposed merger with Unocal will be positively received in the United States.

"People need to understand this is a purely commercial transaction driven by market forces and consideration," Fu was quoted as saying.

Unocal's reserves take center stage.


What's at stake is Unocal's vast portfolio of proven oil and gas reserves -- most of them strategically located a short tanker ride from the factories fueling China's roaring economy.

For majority state-owned CNOOC (CEO: news, chart, profile) , China's dearth of commercial oil fields led it to cast abroad for new energy supplies.