Dec 10 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said that its ratings on
Nexen Inc. are unaffected for now by the Canadian government's approval
of CNOOC Ltd.'s (AA-/Stable/--; cnAAA/--) bid to acquire the company. The
ratings on Nexen remain on CreditWatch with positive implications pending an
in-depth assessment of the prospective parent-subsidiary relationship. In
resolving the CreditWatch placement, we will focus on the resulting corporate
structure, Nexen's strategic importance to CNOOC, and any guarantee or repayment
of debt obligations. On July 23, 2012, we placed the ratings on CreditWatch
following CNOOC's announcement that it had entered a definitive agreement to
acquire all of Nexen's common and preferred shares for C$15.1 billion. The
company's C$4.3 billion in debt would remain outstanding.
Calgary, Alta.-based Nexen is an independent exploration and production
company with proved reserves of 900 million barrel oil equivalents as of
year-end 2011. Its business covers conventional oil and gas, oil sands and shale
gas. CNOOC is the core operating subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp.
(CNOOC; AA-/Stable/--; cnAAA/--), which is one of three wholly government-owned
oil companies in China. Our ratings on CNOOC are based upon its stand-alone
credit profile of 'a', enhanced by what we view as an "extremely high"
likelihood of support from the Chinese government.