China’s NOCs: Lessons Learned From Adventures Abroad

Erica S. Downs
Erica S. Downs Former Brookings Expert

July 9, 2008

This article appears in Fundamentals of the Global Oil and Gas Industry 2008 (London: Petroleum Economist, 2008), pp. 27-31.


The 15 years that China’s national oil companies (NOCs) have been active overseas have provided them with an education in the conduct of international mergers and acquisitions (M&A). They have arguably learned more from their failures than from their successes, and probably learned the most from their biggest setback, China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) failed bid for Unocal in 2005.