CNPC shows interest in Norwegian oil

Chinese SOE, CNPC, may invest in the Scandinavian oil sector, despite frosty political relations between the two nations.

Statoil rig

A rig in Statoil's Troll A field Image: Statoil

China’s largest oil company by volume, China National Petroleum Company, has expressed an interest in cooperating with Norwegian state-owned giant Statoil. CNPC vice president, Wang Donglin, said in a statement that CNPC “would be interested in cooperating with Statoil on the Norwegian continental shelf and the Barents Sea.”

Political relations between the two countries remain frosty after Norway awarded the 2010 Nobel peace prize to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a move that China felt interfered with domestic politics. Recently, Beijing denied Norway’s former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik an entry visa, meaning he was unable to attend a conference where he was a designated speaker.

Despite political tensions, business ties have suffered only mildly, says Norwegian oil minister Ola Borten Moe, who welcomes Chinese businesses into the sector. Statoil has already undertaken several projects with Chinese firms, including Sinochem, a subsidiary of Asia’s largest refiner, Sinopec.