With the announcement Monday that it would pay up to $2.2 billion for a one-third stake in Chesapeake Energy assets, CNOOC lays claim to a share of properties that eventually could produce up to half a million barrels a day of oil equivalent.
It also might pick up some American know-how about tapping the hard-to-get deposits trapped in dense shale rock formations, analysts said.
As part of the deal, the largest purchase of an interest in U.S. energy assets by a Chinese company, CNOOC has agreed to pay about $1.1 billion for a chunk of Chesapeake’s assets in the Eagle Ford, a broad oil and gas formation that runs largely from southwest of San Antonio to the Mexican border.
CNOOC also will provide up to $1.1 billion more to cover drilling costs.
The deal represents China’s second try at making a big move into the U.S. oil and gas market, following a failed bid five years ago to buy California-based Unocal Corp.
Intense political opposition over energy security concerns derailed that $18.4 billion deal. But analysts expect few political or regulatory hurdles to the CNOOC-Chesapeake deal.
“The climate is much more hospitable now,” said Juli MacDonald-Wimbush, a partner with Marstel-Day, an energy and environmental security consulting company in Fredericksburg, Va.