The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has cleared the acquisition of Calgary-based Nexen Inc. by CNOOC Ltd., a unit of state-controlled China National Offshore Oil Co., giving the deal all the approvals it needs to close, Nexen said Tuesday.

Closing is expected during the week of Feb. 25.

Key regulatory approvals were previously received from Canada (see Daily GPI, Dec. 10, 2012), the People’s Republic of China, the United Kingdom and the European Union for the C$15.1 billion purchase by the Chinese. U.S. approval was necessary because of operations Nexen has in the Gulf of Mexico. Nexen shareholders voted to accept the offer back in September (see Daily GPI, Sept. 21, 2012).

At the time the Canadian government granted its approval, it also tightened restrictions on foreign ownership of Canadian companies, particularly those active in the country’s oilsands (see Daily GPI, Dec. 11, 2012).

CFIUS is authorized to review transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign entity in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States.

The deal was announced last summer (see Daily GPI, July 24, 2012). “Nexen will complement CNOOC Ltd.’s large offshore production footprint in China and extends CNOOC Ltd.’s global presence with a high-quality asset base in many of the world’s most significant producing regions — including Western Canada, the UK North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Nigeria — focused on conventional oil and gas, oilsands and shale gas,” CNOOC said at the time. “In addition, Nexen management’s current mandate will be expanded to include all of CNOOC Ltd.’s North American and Caribbean assets.”

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