China Eyes Canadian Oil

Chinese energy companies are eyeing Canada’s oil-rich Alberta oil sand reserves – threatening U.S. imports, which have put Canada ahead of Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela as the largest supplier of foreign oil to the United States, with average exports of 1.6 million barrels a day.

According to a report in the New York Times, Chinese oil companies are on the verge of striking ambitious deals in Canada in efforts to win access to some of the most prized oil reserves in North America, even to possibly making direct investments in the oil sands, by buying into existing producers or acquiring companies with leases to produce oil in the region.

“The China outlet would change our dynamic,” Murray Smith, a former Alberta energy minister told the Times. Smith, who was appointed this month to be the province’s representative in Washington said he estimated that Canada could eventually export as many as one million barrels a day to China out of potential exports of more than three million barrels a day.

“Our main link would still be with the U.S. but this would give us multiple markets and competition for a prized resource,” Smith explained.

According to the Times, in recent weeks delegations of top executives from China’s largest oil companies have been showing up Calgary for talks on ventures that would send oil extracted from the oil sands in the northern reaches of the energy-rich province of Alberta to new ports in western Canada and onward by tanker to China.

China’s insatiable domestic energy demand, up 40 percent in the first half of this year over the period a year ago, is driving them to seek rich new sources of oil imports. In Calgary,

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