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Bull in a China shop

Optimize Blog - September 2, 2009 - 0 comments

China’s plans to invest in Alberta’s oil sands has certainly got the chat rooms alive with various theories around the Chinese motives.  From my scan of the blogs, commercial factors appear to be way down the list of reasons China might want to invest in the oil sands and the conspiracy theorists have been only too quick to point out the potential risk that such an acquisition poses – “Communists in our back yard!”
None of this of course is helped by the US suggesting that the Canadian government should look long and hard at National Security implications before agreeing the deal followed quickly by stating the obvious that “It’s Canada’s decision”.  Of course many other industries have been bought out from beneath Canadian feet – steel, beer and fish farms spring to mind but where are the Canadian companies that can invest the sort of funds that China has available?
The overall size of the Chinese investment is actually quite small relative to the opportunities and resources that exist within the oil sands so at this stage perhaps we should not be afraid of Canada being ‘annexed’ just yet.  China has become an active acquirer of foreign resources amid the global economic crisis, investing in copper, oil and iron ore needed to fuel its fast-growing economy.  It perhaps should not be a surprise then that they have looked at Alberta to support their energy requirements – with the Canadian province having reserves second only to Saudi Arabia.
Should we be wary of the wolf lurking in our back yard or should we welcome the investment in the hope that it will bring stability and support growth?  We await the verdict from Ottawa with interest.

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