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A deputy minister at the Norwegian petroleum ministry will talk about possible cooperation with China’s oil producer CNOOC on Thursday, before Norway’s Prime Minister visits China later this week in a sign that the two countries were continuing to patch up relations that were frozen in 2010 when Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In December last year, Norway and China fully restored political and diplomatic relations. Now, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg will visit Beijing between April 7 and 10 and will meet President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and other officials, to renew political and economic cooperation with China.
According to officials who spoke to Reuters, now a deputy oil minister from Norway will be meeting with executives from the biggest Chinese offshore producer, CNOOC, which had said back in 2010 that it would be interested in doing business in Norway.
Given Norway’s existing and potential offshore oil and gas resources and Statoil’s status of an international oil major, on the one hand, and China’s energy demand on the other hand, both countries could benefit from boosting oil ties.
Norway and CNOOC are not complete strangers, even when relations between the Nordic country and China were frozen.
Back in 2013, Norway said it would join CNOOC in exploring for oil offshore Iceland. Under a treaty from 1981, Norway has the right to take a 25-percent stake in Iceland’s oil licenses.
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The following year, in October 2014, CNOOC and its Canadian subsidiary Nexen Inc. were interested in buying seismic data for an area in Norway’s Arctic, in the Barents Sea, according to an email of the companies to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate that Bloomberg had obtained.
Apart from the Iceland license for exploration, CNOOC’s closest current operations near Norwegian waters are in offshore UK, where it has a 43.2-percent interest in the Buzzard oil field and a 36.5-percent stake in the Golden Eagle oil field.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.