10/20/2012 08:25 EDT | Updated 12/20/2012 05:12 EST

Energy Company Upset Feds Blocked Malaysian Takeover


Calgary-based Progress Energy Resources says it's disappointed the federal government blocked a multi-billion-dollar bid by Malaysia's state-owned oil company Petronas to take it over.

"Progress will be working over the next 30 days to determine the nature of the issues and the potential remedies" said the company's CEO Michael Culbert in a statement released Saturday afternoon.

"The long-term health of the natural gas industry in Canada and the development of a new [liquified natural gas] export industry are dependent on international investments."

Industry Minister Christian Paradis said on Friday the proposed takeover — worth between $5 billion and $6 billion — did not meet Canada's "net benefit test."

"I can confirm that I have sent a notice letter to Petronas indicating that I am not satisfied that the proposed investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada," Paradis said a statement.

"Due to the strict confidentiality provisions of the [Investment Canada] Act, I cannot comment further on this investment at this time," he said. Petronas now has 30 days to "make any additional representations and submit any further undertakings," the minister said.

"Subsequently, I will either confirm this initial decision or approve the acquisition."

Paradis added his government has a "long-standing reputation for welcoming foreign investment" and "remains committed to maintaining an open climate for investment."

The decision comes as the Conservative government is reviewing China National Offshore Oil Corp.'s proposed $15.1-billion takeover of Calgary-based Nexen Inc. under the act.

On Oct. 11, Paradis extended the government's review of CNOOC's bid by 30 days and said the review period may be extended again.

Petronas and Progress Energy are already partners in an ambitious project to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) by ship from British Columbia.

The proposal now on hold would give Petronas control over Progress Energy's Montney gas shale assets in the foothills of northeast British Columbia, reserves that could feed a planned LNG facility in Prince Rupert, B.C.

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