* Sinopec's move is a benefit to Canada, minister says
* To pay $4.65 billion for stake in oil sands project
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, June 25 Canada's industry
minister said on Friday he cleared China's Sinopec Corp
(600028.SS) to buy ConocoPhillips' (COP.N) stake in the
Syncrude Canada Ltd oil sands project.
The deal, worth $4.65 billion, is the richest yet for
Chinese companies looking for a toehold in the oil sands.
China has made a series of investments in the past year
into the northern Alberta oil sands, the largest oil reserve
outside the Middle East, as the world's third-largest economy
seeks to lock up energy reserves to power its booming growth.
"I have approved the application by Sinopec ... to acquire
control of the ConocoPhillips Partnership because I am
satisfied that the investment is likely to be of net benefit to
Canada," Industry Minister Tony Clement said in a statement.
Sinopec, China's second-largest oil producer and top
refiner, agreed in April to buy ConocoPhillips' 9.03 percent
interest in Syncrude -- the largest oil sands project -- with
seven other partners controlling the rest. Canadian ownership
of Syncrude remains at nearly 56 percent.
ConocoPhillips' shares on the New York Stock Exchange were
down 0.5 percent on Friday
(Reporting by Rod Nickel; Editing by Frank McGurty)