Energy Politics: Nexen and CNOOC

 Canadians Oppose Nexen Takeover 

A new survey commissioned by the Sun News Network and conducted by Abacus Data finds a majority of Canadians believe the federal government should reject the proposed purchase of energy company Nexen by state-controlled CNOOC of China.

Overall, nine percent of respondents said the federal government should approve the deal while 57% said it should reject it.  One in three respondents were unsure about their position.

Nexen Takeover

Survey respondents were asked about CNOOC Ltd’s offer to purchase energy company Nexen.  Overall, four in ten respondents (43%) said they were aware of the offer to purchase Nexen by Chinese-state controlled CNOOC Ltd.

When asked whether they believed the federal government should approve or reject the deal, 57% of respondents said the government should reject the deal compared with 9% who said the deal should be approved.  A large group of respondents (34%) did not know what the federal government should do,

Support for rejecting the deal was fairly consistent across subgroups.  While Albertans were more likely to say that the deal should be approved, 47% of respondents in the province believed that the deal should be rejected.  Even 54% of Conservative Party supporters believed that the deal should be rejected.

Bottom Line

As energy policy rises to the top of the government agendas, so too do the political stakes involved.

The proposed Nexen purchase by CNOOC further complicates the energy strategy for the federal government.

The offer represents a significant foreign investment in Canadian resources yet Canadians, at this point, seem to be rejecting the idea of a state-controlled company owning such a large stake in the valuable resource.

For many Canadians, they don’t feel they benefit enough from the wealth generated in the oil sands.  Why would they support a foreign country benefiting from the resource instead?

There is little doubt, based on public opinion, that energy policy will dominate political debates in the next three year and will be a major issue in the next election.

Download detailed tables.


The survey was conducted online with 2,009 respondents living outside of Quebec in English using an internet survey platform. A random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from a larger internet representative panel of over 150,000 Canadians.  The survey was completed from August 10-12, 2012.

An over sample of was conducted in British Columbia (n=793) and Ontario (n=502).  The data was statistically weighted by age, gender, region, and education level according to census data.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated. The margin of error for a survey of 2,009 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

For more information about the survey, please contact David Coletto, CEO at or 613-232-2806.