CNOOC gets US approval for Nexen deal

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Canadian energy producer Nexen Inc. says a U.S. government agency has given the final approval required for its acquisition by China’s state-owned CNOOC.

Nexen said Tuesday the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has now given its approval, clearing the way to close China’s biggest overseas energy deal in the week of Feb. 25.

The Committee reviews takeovers by foreign-owned companies for national security implications. CNOOC’s acquisition of the Canadian company falls under U.S. jurisdiction because of Nexen’s Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations.

Britain and the European Union have also given their go ahead for the Nexen takeover.

Canada approved the $15.1 billion takeover in December after worries the approval could lead to a flood of foreign takeovers in Canada’s vast oil sands sector. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it would be “extremely unlikely” his government will allow any more foreign takeovers in the oil sands sector by state-owned companies.

Nexen, a mid-tier energy company, operates in western Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, Africa and the Middle East.