N-O to CNOOC

Readers unequivocal on opposition to overseas bid for Unocal

Published in CSP Daily News

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- It would seem Chevron Corp.'s effort to purchasealbeit at a larger cost than expectedUnocal Corp. is back on track after Unocal's board of directors last week accepted new terms for the purchase and remained mum on a late competing bid from China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC), which reportedly was reviewed July 13.

That seemingly would sit well with CSP Daily News readers, who found numerous ways[It's] not a good thing, wrote one readerto Talk Back about their discomfort with the CNOOC bid when we asked, What are your concerns [image-nocss] should CNOOC take control of Unocal? And how far should the U.S. government go to prevent such a sale? A representative sampling of the responses follows.

The U.S. government should not let China even think about a bid for Unocal. Chevron can handle this a lot better and keep all oil companies within the United States.

--Ronnie Woodruff

Nashville, Ark.

Howard

There are more issues than pages to discuss. The more CNOOC wants to buy, the more Unocal needs to hold firm and not sell to them. Unocal should sell to Chevron and be done with the deal. Or, perhaps the U.S. government (we the people) should become partners with Chevron and kick in any funds necessary to remain competitive.

--G. Schmidt

North Wales, Pa.

Absolutely not, for these national security reasons:

1. CNOOC is 70% owned by the communist Chinese government.

2. All communists have been and continue to be in pursuit of world domination (if not militarily, then economically).

3. The Chinese government is right now engaged in a large military build up.

4. A Chinese military general recently told our government officials China's nuclear weapons will be used against the United States.

5. Unocal's proven oil & natural gas reserves are concentrated in the Far East.

6. Should we need to go to war against the Chinese, it is reasonable to assume that these reserves would be unavailable to our fighting forces if CNOOC controlled the decision-making as to their disposition.

Given the above, the U.S. government should leave no stone unturned in preventing CNOOC's takeover of Unocal or any other enterprise deemed essential to the national security of its citizenry.

-- J.R. Jack Muellerleile

Cypress, Calif.

I only know what has been published in public papers so my understanding may not be accurate. I think this is a national security issue, and our government should attempt to stop CNOOC from buying UNOCAL. I am concerned, however, that much of the crude reserves of UNOCAL may be in Asia and that China could confiscate them if they choose.

--J.R. Seiler

Eureka, Calif.

I am opposed to this sale. When was the last time you went to the store and purchased something that wasn't made in China. I don't want the gas I put in my vehicle to have the same stamp.

--Greg Barrett

Louisville, Ky.

My fundamental problem is not that a foreign company is buying a U.S. company. This practice is well established and perfectly acceptable in today's global market place. Nor is it necessarily an issue that a foreign company is trying to buy strategic U.S. resources (read: oil reserves). I have no issues with BP, for example, owning U.S. oil resources/reserves.

The issue is that CNOOC is not merely a foreign-owned company, but rather a branch of the Chinese government. As such, not only does CNOOC not have to compete fairly (as the government financing and regulatory framework protects them from the exigencies of the market place to which the rest of us are subject), but it also can and is directly used to fuel the Chinese government's political and economic plans and, therefore, control.

Let them have Maytag, for the likelihood that a U.S. citizen will be unable to buy a washing machine 50 years in the future will not hinge on whose name is on the company letterhead. But when it comes to finite oil reserves, particularly West Coast oil reserves, CNOOC will have every incentive to, at a minimum, move the crude across the Pacific and not use it to satisfy U.S. demand.

The doomsday scenarios abound. This is a matter of national security more so, in my opinion, than screening luggage for bombs at our nation's airports. The Bush Administration and Congress should pass whatever law, executive decree or regulation necessary to prevent this from happening (and to keep us from flying afoul of international treaties through which the Chinese will assuredly appeal to the world governments).

If the U.S. government were to purchase UNOCAL and then have UNOCAL make an amazing offer for CNOOC, I guarantee that not only would the Chinese government laugh in our faces, they would see it as a direct threat to the security of their country. The only winners from this deal would be a small number of greedy shareholders desperate to ring the last ounce of cash out of their stockholdings, and the largest totalitarian dictatorship in the world. Can anyone say no-brainer?

--Denise Smith

Hickory, N.C.

[CNOOC is] just doing what the United States has done for years. Money talks!

--D. Foster

Newport, Minn.

Absolutely not! Do not sell to a communist country. Oil companies should all be U.S. company-owned. More and more are becoming foreign-owned. It's bad enough the Saudis continue to screw us.

--Bob Ferretti

Gilbert, Ariz.

Our record-setting international trade deficit combined with our huge federal budget deficits have put [the United States] in the position of having to sell the tractor to save the farm. Our country needs to keep ownership of all of the resources necessary to maintain our strategic defense: oil, steel, electronics, and light and heavy manufacturing.

Current economic policies only serve to weaken the nation and serve the already rich and powerful.

-- James Konkle

Boston

Due to cheap and abundant labor, the bulk of consumer goods purchased in the United States today are from China, and that does not appear to be slowing down. I call it chino economics.' I haven't paid any more for a pair of chinos from J. Crew or L.L. Bean since I purchased my first pair in 1995. Many other consumer goods made in China during the last 10 years [are the same way].

Yet from a labor-law and work-environment perspective, many of the Chinese factories can be compared to the U.S. factories that Upton Sinclair wrote of in his 1906 book The Jungle.'

Is China profiting from being the United States' consumer goods factory? Absolutely. From virtually nothing in the 1980s, our trade deficit with China jumped to $103 billion in 2002. We exported just $22 billion worth of goods to China while importing $125 billion.

CNOOC owning America's ninth-largest oil company translates into revenues flowing to China, thereby increasing the trade deficit and our dependence on foreign oil. It increasingly places America at economic risk with an economic powerhouse whose ethics are questionable. (China is the world's most prolific source for pirated software, music, and film.)

Is there any benefit to CNOOC owning Unocal? I cannot find one.

-- Jerome Sedelmeyer

Charlotte, N.C.

Since China will need as much oil as we do in the next few years, if they own one of our oil companies, guess where that product will get shipped to. But since our politicians and corporate leaders are nothing but greedy pig swill, the sale will probably go through, and the oil companies will continue to gouge us forever.

On the other hand, most middle-class Americans are likewise self-serving and self-centered. They surely won't buy or build smaller or more fuel-efficient cars or homes, so the demand will keep rising. The attitude of most folks I meet is basically, The hell with our kids and grandkids, I'm getting what I want now.' How sad for us as a nation.

-- Joel Ashenbaum

Richmond, Va.

"That's all we need in today's energy crunch, an off-shore (foreign) company bidding for a domestic refiner. Let's let Unocal's California neighbor, Chevron, spend its money and keep the cash at home,' so to speak."

-- Dick Bevens

Newport, Ore.