* Decisions "very near" on framework and individual bids
* Clearest indication yet that decisions will be
* China's CNOOC has bid for Nexen, Malaysia's Petronas for
* Sources say state-run Indian firms want stake in oil sands
By Randall Palmer
BANGALORE, India, Nov 8 Canada will make
decisions very soon on foreign investment proposals it is
considering and on the broader framework for dealing with such
investment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday.
"The government of Canada has some very important decisions
before it on when it will take public positions in the very near
future along with positions on some of the broader policy
questions," Harper told a news conference during a visit to
He declined to say whether Indian state-owned enterprises
would be welcome to invest in Canada.
The important decisions he was referring to were how to deal
with a $15.1 billion bid by China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd
for Canadian oil firm Nexen Inc, and a C$5.17
billion ($5.17 billion) one by Malaysia's state oil firm
Petronas for Progress Energy Resources Corp.
The government initially turned Petronas down, giving it
until Nov. 18 to put together a revised proposal, and has
delayed a decision on CNOOC until Dec. 10.
His remarks on Thursday were the clearest indication yet
that the government would decide on both bids at the same time
as unveiling a framework to give greater clarity to what sort of
foreign investment will be acceptable.
In September, sources said a trio of state-run Indian oil
companies had bid $5 billion for stakes in Canadian oil sands
holdings of ConocoPhillips.
In general, bids for stakes in holdings raise fewer concerns
than taking control of entire Canadian companies.
During several months of deliberations on foreign
investment, Harper has referred often to the need for other
countries to treat Canadian investment with the same openness as
they are seeking for their firms.