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Autor Tema: Fastforward to today. Now we have one of the world's largest SOEs  (Leído 645 veces)

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« : 01 de Enero de 2014, 04:16:40 pm »

ownership tables have turned
Eugene Lang,So let me get this straight. It is a good thing for a Chinese stateowned enterprise to take over a Canadian oil company and own a significant part of Alberta's oil industry. But it is heresy for a Canadian governmentowned oil company to even exist.
The Economist calls it "The Rise of the New State Capitalism." Foreign Policy magazine calls it "The New Mercantilism." We are apparently living in a new era of global "capitalism" in which governmentowned companies or SOEs, mostly from "emerging markets," are competing against privatesector firms, and scouring the world for investment, particularly in the naturalresources sector. PetroCanada's architects had many goals for the company, chief among them being security of oil supply for ray ban new wayfarer Canada after the Middle East oil shock of 1973. Developing the nascent oilsands, which was desperately in need of capital, was another goal.
From its inception in 1975, PetroCanada was highly controversial among Canada's business and political elites, in particular the Alberta oil industry, the Alberta Progressive Conservative government of Peter Lougheed, and the federal PCs, all of which saw the company as a wild socialist experiment, an instrument that would permit Ottawa to muck around in and screw up markets in Canada's most free enterprise of provinces. PetroCanada's image as a bastion of socialist thinking wasn't helped by the fact that the concept came from the NDP and was adopted by a Liberal minority government under some parliamentary duress.
In the end, the oil industry won the argument and PetroCanada was privatized through the early to middle 1990s. The idea of a Canadian governmentowned oil company eventually gained a broad image as bad and outdated, an unnecessary and unfair intrusion into the oil industry and the free market. Ottawa divested itself of its remaining 19percent stake in the company in 2004, and three years ago Suncor Energy merged with the privatized PetroCanada.
Fastforward to today. Now we have one of the world's largest SOEs, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), controlled by the Chinese government, acquiring Nexen, a Canadianowned oil company with a market capitalization of around $9 billion that has existed in various incarnations for 40 years. A chief Chinese government objective with this acquisition is security of oil supply for China, as it was for the Canadian government via PetroCanada 40 years ago.
Ironically, the same interests that conducted a jihad in the 1970s and 1980s against a Canadian stateowned oil company messing around in Alberta's freemarket oilpatch seem perfectly comfortable with a Chinese SOE doing likewise today.
The Alberta oil industry  PetroCanada's nemesis when it was government owned and controlled  has been mute to positive on the friendly Nexen takeover. The Alberta Progressive Conservative government, a linear descendant of the Lougheed government, is broadly supportive of the acquisition. And the federal Conservatives  with Hollister Dublin their Alberta freemarket epicentre, in theory more ideologically hostile to state intervention in the economy than any government in Canadian history , will likely approve the takeover, probably with some conditions hollister attached. For the past year or so the Harper government has been aggressively courting Chinese trade and investment. Now is most certainly not the time to poke the Chinese in the eye after leading them down the Canadian garden path.
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