China’s New Foray into U.S. Energy Market Shows Evolving Strategy

News arrived this week that the second-largest oil company in China has agreed to pay $900 million, and contribute as much as $1.6 billion to future drilling costs, for a one-third stake in five American exploratory oil projects. The foray into American energy investment, the first by China Petrochemical Corp., known as Sinopec, comes in the form of a partnership with Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. to develop shale reserves.

"It's a marriage of convenience and opportunity," said Clayton Dube, associate director of the University of Southern California's U.S.-China Institute. "This is further evidence of Chinese firms and the Chinese state working to acquire resources abroad, resources that are much needed if Chinese economic growth is to continue."

According to Bloomberg, in 2011, Chinese companies announced $18.3 billion in bids for overseas gas and oil exploration and production.

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