Oil protectionism

A Spanish company “preparing a bid for North Sea operator Talisman” (Business, 15 December) raises a crucial political issue.

About two years ago the Chinese took a 49 per cent share in this oil company.

Around the same time they acquired the Buzzard oil field, one of the North Sea’s biggest.

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How far ought governments go to protect “sovereign assets” like North Sea oil and gas?

Some expert commentators express concern only about the presence of Chinese national oil corporations in the North Sea.

However, perhaps a case could be made for the state playing a more proactive role in protecting sovereign assets from foreign control.

Arguably, because of the national importance of oil and gas, the public good overrides private interest.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk


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