HOUSTON (Dow Jones)--Chinese oil companies continue to assess the viability of U.S. oil acquisitions despite Cnooc Ltd.'s (CEO) failed takeover of Unocal Corp. last year, China's ambassador to the U.S. said Friday.
"They're assessing the environment," Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong told Dow Jones Newswires after a presentation hosted by the Asia Society in Houston.
The ambassador reiterated the Cnooc offer had been unfairly politicized, since it was a "purely commercial transaction; a threat to U.S. energy security is out of the question."
Cnooc's proposed $18.5 billion takeover of Unocal died last summer following a brouhaha in Congress on the implications of China's rising energy consumption. El Segundo, CA.-based Unocal eventually accepted a competing bid from Chevron Corp. (CVX).
Zhou agreed with comments made by U.S. President George W. Bush regarding excessive dependence on imported oil.
"China will diversify," said Zhou, noting the cooling of Chinese oil demand in 2005. "Coal will be more important than oil."
China, the world's second-largest consumer of oil, consumed 2.26 billion barrels of oil in 2005, about 8 million barrels less than in 2004, according to a statement released by the Chinese Embassy on Friday.
Zhou addressed the Asia Society before an audience that included senior executives from ConocoPhillips (COP) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN).
-By Angel Gonzalez, Dow Jones Newswires; 713-547-9207; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires