Reuters reported from industry sources on April 13 that China’s top oil producer, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), is preparing to withdraw its operations in Britain, the U.S., and Canada due to its concerns over Western sanctions.

A senior industry source told the outlet that CNOOC wants to sell “marginal and hard to manage” assets in the three countries.

In March, the oil champion had hired Bank of America to prepare for the sale of its North Sea assets, which comprise a stake in one of the basin’s major fields.

Threats of secondary sanctions from Washington have been the last straw for CNOOC to remain as World powers pressure China against giving Russia assistance in the Ukraine war.

Operating in the U.S. over the past years has not been easy for CNOOC. Such challenges include security clearances necessitated by Washington for its Chinese officials to enter the nation.

CNOOC was ejected from the New York Stock Exchange in October 2021 as Washington blacklisted it for ties to the Chinese military. It was cleared from the list last June.

The oil producer has afterward reviewed its global portfolio as it braces to list on the Shanghai stock exchange in order to seek alternative funding for its operations.

CNOOC said in its prospectus for its initial public offering that it might be subject to further sanctions.

As Reuters reported, the company said, “We cannot predict if the company or its affiliates and partners will be affected by U.S. sanctions in future, if policies change.”

CNOOC gained access to the three countries by acquiring Nexen, a Canadian oil and gas company, for $15 billion in 2013. The deal elevated CNOOC into a leading world producer.

According to Reuters’ calculations, CNOOC’s assets with stakes in major fields in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and substantial Canadian oil sand projects, generate about 220,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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