* Minister won't say if CNOOC is barred from bidding
* Nexen contract ends May 31
* Alberta takes in 72,000 bpd in lieu of cash
CALGARY, Alberta, Dec 11 Alberta is in the
process of choosing a marketer for the crude oil it collects in
lieu of cash royalties, a role now mostly filled by Nexen Inc
, whose takeover by China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd
was approved by Ottawa last week.
Ken Hughes, Alberta's energy minister, declined to say on
Monday if he would be comfortable with CNOOC marketing most of
the roughly 72,000 barrels per day of crude oil on behalf of the
western Canadian province.
Currently, Nexen markets 90 percent of Alberta's government
oil, taken from the industry as in-kind royalty payments, and
the Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission handles the rest.
Nexen's contract expires on May 31 and the government posted
a request for proposals at the end of last month.
Hughes would not say if CNOOC would be barred from bidding.
"But it will be an open process to find a party that is best
positioned to represent Alberta's interests," he told reporters.
He said the government will make a decision in the next two
or three months.
On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper approved CNOOC's
acquisition of Nexen, but also issued guidelines expected to
dramatically restrict the amount of control that foreign
state-owned enterprises can have in the Canadian energy sector
in futures deals.