June 28, 2012: Progress Energy Resources reveals that it has agreed to a friendly takeover by Malyasia’s Petronas in a deal valued at $5.5 billion
July 23, 2012: Nexen announces that it has agreed to be bought by CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Company) in a deal valued at $15.1 billion. The proposed takeover was immediately viewed as a test of both Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s policy on China and Canada’s foreign investment rules.
July 30, 2012: Some U.S. lawmakers call on the Obama administration to block the deal in the U.S., where Nexen own assets in the Gulf of Mexico. “I believe this merger could lead to a massive transfer of wealth from the American people to the Chinese government,” writes Edward Markey, a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Political opposition in the U.S. similarly stymied CNOOC’s attempt to buy Unocal, a U.S. energy company, in 2005.
Aug. 21, 2012: CNOOC slashes its dividend payments by 40 per cent to save cash to pay for the Nexen deal.
Sept. 6, 2012: Prime Minister Stephen Harper promises more clarity on Canada’s foreign takeover rules, which have been criticized for being opaque and susceptible to politics.
Sept. 13, 2012: Alberta Premier Allison Redford indicates her support for foreign investment during a trip to China, where she met with CNOOC officials. “We have always believed foreign investment assisted us with growing our economy so we are encouraging that,” she says.
Sept. 20, 2012: Nexen shareholders vote in favour of the CNOOC takeover.
Oct. 11, 2012: Ottawa extends its deadline to review the Nexen takeover by 30 days.
Oct. 19, 2012: Industry Minister Christian Paradis rejects Petronas’s proposed takeover of Progress, saying in a statement issued just before midnight, the deal failed a “net benefit” test. Progress responds the next day by promising to find a solution to the government’s concerns. “The long-term health of the natural gas industry in Canada and the development of a new LNG export business are dependent on international investments such as Petronas’, ” CEO Michael Culbert says in a statement.
Nov. 2, 2012: Ottawa extends the deadline for its Nexen decision by 30 days. The new deadline is Dec. 10.
Nov. 20, 2012: Petronas says it has extended the date for its takeover of Progress until Dec. 30, and has taken additional steps to win Ottawa’s approval.
Dec. 7, 2012: While announcing new guidelines for foreign investment in Canada, the government says both the Nexen-CNOOC deal and the Petronas-Progress Energy Resources Corp. deal will be permitted.