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Private Chinese suitor said to buy Brookfield-backed energy company

People walk to Brookfield Place off Bay Street in Toronto in this file photo.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. has sold one of its oil and gas holdings in Alberta to SanLing Energy Ltd., extending the slow drip of Chinese capital into Canada's oil and gas industry.

Brookfield Business Partners LP, a unit of the global asset manager, announced the sale of Insignia Energy Ltd. last month in a quarterly letter to shareholders.

The deal resulted in a small impairment for Brookfield, which said it opted to sell the company rather than commit additional capital needed to keep up production. Neither the buyer nor the purchase price were disclosed.

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However, sources say the buyer was SanLing, one of a handful of private Chinese companies that collectively have pumped more than $3-billion into primarily distressed assets through the prolonged industry slump.

Private Chinese suitors have largely replaced the bigger state-run companies as a source of foreign capital in Canada's oil and gas sector after multibillion-dollar investments by CNOOC Ltd. and PetroChina Co. Ltd. underperformed.

SanLing also bought assets out of receivership from bankrupt Spyglass Resources Corp. and is said to have purchased $200-million worth of properties from companies controlled by Calgary's wealthy Riddell family.

A representative with SanLing was not immediately available for comment. A spokesperson for Brookfield pointed to the letter to shareholders but said the buyer was not disclosed.

Brookfield acquired and then privatized Insignia in 2013. The company last produced about 2,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, primarily from operations in the Pouce Coup region of northwest Alberta, according to marketing materials.

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About the Author

Jeff Lewis is a reporter specializing in energy coverage for The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, based in Calgary. Previously, he was a reporter with the Financial Post, writing news and features about Canada’s oil industry. His work has taken him to Norway and the Canadian Arctic. More

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