Two years ago, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and another Chinese state-controlled oil company seemed on the verge of capturing a large patch of foreign oil reserves with a handshake deal to pay $1.23 billion for part of a field in Kazakhstan.
Skip to next paragraph
But the prospect was snatched away two months later when the Western companies operating the oil field asserted their legal right to buy the stake instead. For the Chinese oil executives, it was a rude defeat that emphasized their marginal status on the global energy map.
Indeed, for all their efforts over the last dozen years, Chinese companies have remarkably little to show for it – just a string of largely second-rate, remote, dubious or uncertain energy investments for which they have mostly overpaid.