Foreign interest — especially by companies based in Asia — in western Canadian oil and gas properties has picked up sharply compared with 2009, according to Sayer Energy Advisors.

The Calgary-based consulting firm found foreign firms accounted for 45 per cent of all large mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures so far in 2010. It defines a large deal as worth more than $5 million in value.


Interest in western Canadian oil and gas assets has come from China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, France and the United States. ((Hasan Jamali/Associated Press))


Its analysis found that internationally based firms have done 13 deals worth a total of approximately $13 billion.

The total value of all mergers and acquisitions in the industry this year was slightly less than $29 billion.

There were only four large deals in all of 2009, when the economy was still in recession, for a total of $6.35 billion.

"We expect there to be continued strong interest in Canadian oil and natural gas assets for the remainder of 2010 as well as in 2011," the report's author, Crystal Holdershaw, told CBC News in an email.

"International companies are attracted to Canada because of our stable fiscal environment and the opportunities that exist here in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin."

"We will likely see the partnerships continuing to form as this is an ideal way to learn about our technologies and emerging plays," she said.

Interest has come from China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, France and the United States and the primary interest has been in the oilsands, it said.


Foreign interest in Canadian oil and gas:    
Acquirer Seller  Asset  Value 
Sinopec (China)     ConocoPhillips (U.S.)  Syncrude oilsands (9% interest)  $4.65 billion 
Apache (U.S.)  BP  (U.K.)  oil and gas  $3.4 billion 
Total (France)  UTS Energy (Cdn.)  oilsands  $1.5 billion 
BP Value Creation Inc. (Cdn.) oilsands  $900 million 
China Investment Corporation Penn West Energy (Cdn.)  oilsands (45% interest)  $817 million 
Harvest Operations Corp. (South Korea) Newmont Mining (U.S.)  oilsands  $374 million 
Mitsubishi (Japan)     Penn West  natural gas (50% interest)  $250 million 
STX Energy (South Korea)  Encana  natural gas   $152 million 
Clampett Energy (Australia)  Madison Energy  (Cdn.)  oil and gas $8 million 
(Source: Sayer Energy Advisors)