Big oil is being challenged by state-owned foreigners like China's CNOOC,whose takevoer bid for Unocal was rejected last year:
State-controlled oil companies represent "unpredictable competition," said David Pursell, an analyst at Pickering Energy Partners in Houston. "All of a sudden, Cnooc shows up. What's their cost of capital? I don't know. What's their strategy? I don't know."So after all these years of rampant privatisation (as per the Conservatives' Economic Bible), we are now hearing that nationalised industries have a "competitive advantage" - and from the oil industry, of all places!
"Having some kind of political alignment between nations and their oil companies is bringing a distinct competitive advantage," John Knight, senior vice president of international business development and acquisitions at Norway's state-owned Statoil, said in an interview. "That advantage will not be going to the stateless multinationals."
"State companies winning deals because of government-to-government interaction has become a rule rather than an exception," said Arjuna Mahendran, chief economist and strategist at Credit Suisse Private Banking in Singapore. "This will increase competition for multinational companies in acquiring oil and gas assets."
The article includes some interesting stats:
Crude oil in New York is around $67 a barrel, more than three times the average of about $20 during the 1990s.
New York natural gas is around $8 per million British thermal units, four times the average of about $2 during the 1990s.