With a state-owned Chinese company's $15.1 billion bid to purchase a Canadian oil and natural gas producer with U.S. assets drawing opposition in Washington, the Canadian energy company has enlisted Covington & Burling for help.
The U.S. subsidiary of Calgary, Alberta-based Nexen Inc. has acquired a team of three Covington lobbyists to advocate for it on its proposed sale to Chinese energy company CNOOC Ltd., according to lobbying registration paperwork the law firm filed with Congress this week. Covington senior counsel Martin Gold, who is a co-leader of the firm's government affairs practice group, as well as partner Gerard Waldron and special counsel Muftiah McCartin, are handling the account.
In September, Republican Senators James Inhofe of Oklahoma, John Cornyn of Texas, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Richard Shelby of Alabama sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to express their concerns with CNOOC's planned acquisition of Nexen. Geithner is the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is reviewing the Chinese company's plan to obtain Houston-based Nexen Petroleum USA Inc. as part of its bid for Nexen. The Canadian government also is assessing the proposal.
"While we are eager to see these resources developed in a way that would increase the size of our country’s economy, create more jobs, and sustain the American jobs already in place at companies like Nexen, we must do this without jeopardizing our own country's foreign policy and national security objectives," they wrote.
McCartin didn't have an immediate comment.
Nexen now has two firms lobbying for it in Washington, according to congressional records. The company paid Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough $220,000 for its lobbying work during the first half of this year.
CNOOC also has lobbyists from Davis Polk & Wardwell, Hill & Knowlton Strategies and Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates.