The Canadian government delivered a surprising 11th-hour rejection of a C$5.2 billion ($5.3 billion) takeover of Progress Energy Resources Corp by Malaysia's Petronas, raising questions about its desire for foreign energy investment.
The deal is a third of the value of another contentious transaction that Ottawa is reviewing, the bid for Nexen Inc by Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd and investors had expected that Petronas would have an easier time with Ottawa's approval process.
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Progress's assets are more concentrated in one commodity, natural gas, and in one region, Western Canada.
Here is a look at the company and its relationship with Petronas:
- Based in Calgary and led by Chief Executive Michael Culbert, Progress is known for its acreage in the Montney unconventional gas region of Northeastern British Columbia, where government estimates peg overall resources at 450 trillion cubic feet of gas in place.
- The region is one of several in North America where the energy industry is unlocking vast reserves with the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
- Progress' company-wide reserves are estimated at 1.9 trillion cubic feet on a proved plus probable basis, and it has 1.25 million acres of land.
- Production in the second quarter averaged 44,641 barrels of oil equivalent a day, up 10 percent from the year before. Cash flow was C$82 million, down from C$117 million a year earlier.
- In 2011, Petronas paid Progress C$1.1 billion to gain a 50 percent stake in Progress' North Montney assets, which include 150,000 acres with estimated total resources of 15 trillion cubic feet of gas.
- As part of the deal, which represented the Malaysian energy company's first foray in to Canada, the companies agreed to study building a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas plant on the Pacific Coast, joining a sizable list of potential export projects as developers looked for ways to boost the value of their gas production amid depressed North American markets.
- Since then, the partners have proposed a 1.2 billion cubic feet a day plant for Prince Rupert, British Columbia, which would be in service in 2018. The governments of Canada and British Columbia have said LNG exports are a major opportunity for both Canadian energy companies and Asian markets.
- Besides the North Montney joint venture, Progress has assets in the Deep Basin and Rocky Mountain Foothills regions of Alberta and British Columbia.
- Petronas announced its bid for Progress in June, offering C$20.45 a share, a hefty 77 percent premium to the target's market price, to gain control of all of the reserves.
- In July, Petronas was forced to raise its offer by 8 percent to C$22 a share after Progress received a rival bid from an unnamed suitor. Major Oil companies, such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc were among the companies rumored to have tried to pick off Progress.
- Early this month, Ottawa extended its review of the deal for an unusual two weeks while it weighed whether it would have a net benefit to Canada.
- On Friday, with two minutes to go before the deadline for a decision, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said the takeover was not of net benefit, without offering explanation.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Christopher Wilson)