Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lockyer, others weigh in on Unocal bid

Facing the prospect of a Chinese buyout of California energy giant Unocal, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is stepping in to the fray:

California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer and other state attorneys general plan to press for assurances that a proposed purchase by Chinese oil firm CNOOC Ltd. wouldn't undermine Unocal Corp.'s obligations to U.S. environmental cleanup projects and to provide employee pension and healthcare benefits, a Lockyer spokesman said Tuesday.

The development comes amid strained relations between the United States and China over trade and other matters, and as congressional legislators continue to fret that the $18.5-billion offer from CNOOC would threaten national and economic security. Unocal's board is weighing the bid against a $16.8-billion offer from Chevron Corp.

Lockyer, echoing worries of officials in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Montana and Texas, will send a letter to Unocal executives as early as today expressing concerns about the enforceability of various cleanup pacts and other agreements if the El Segundo oil company is bought by CNOOC, said Tom Dresslar, Lockyer's spokesman