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CNPC's C$499 Million Deal Still Valid

Source: Reuters 8/24/2009, Location: Africa

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China National Petroleum Corp's CNPET.UL C$499 million ($462 million) agreement to acquire Canada's Verenex Energy Inc remains in effect, though the deal was to expire today, Verenex's chief financial officer said on Monday. Though Libya's government has said it may pre-empt the deal - which would see CNPC's international arm buy the Canadian firm for its oil properties in the North African country - the agreement remains valid until either party cancels it, said Verenex CFO Ken Hillier.

"Today is the outside date for the acquisition agreement, but it doesn't terminate until one party actively terminates it," Hillier said. "We certainly have no intention of doing so and we've heard nothing from CNPC to that effect." Verenex, a small Canadian oil producer that has concentrated on finding oil in Libya, agreed in February to sell itself to CNPC for C$10 a share.

However Libya balked at the deal and said it may exercise its right of first refusal and buy Verenex's operations itself. Verenex has been in negotiations with Libya but those discussions have yet to result in a solution for either the company or the North African country.

The talks "are amicable and both parties wish to avoid arbitration and reach a solution," Hillier said. "We're there to reach a deal but as far as timing goes I can't speak to that. They certainly don't have a timetable they've relayed to us."

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