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China arrives in North America's unconventional gas sector

CNPC's deal with gas producer EnCana gives it a foothold in Canada's growing shale-gas business and heralds the arrival of China's state-owned oil companies in North America's unconventional-gas sector.

The heads-of-agreement, signed in Ottawa on 24 June, could see CNPC take up to a 50% stake in tracts of EnCana acreage in the Horn River, Greater Sierra and Montney Ridge shale-gas formations, in northeast British Columbia (BC). For China, the move is strategic, giving one of its international energy champions access to natural gas that could eventually be liquefied on Canada's west coast and shipped to Asian markets. The company will also gain expertise in developing shale gas – essential if China is to build its own domestic unconventional-gas sector (see analysis). The deal will give EnCana another lump of cash to spend on a land-acquisition and drilling programme in North America. Ho

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