Kazakhstan to buy Chinese oil producer

Kazakhstan 's prime minister said Wednesday that his government was in the final stages of talks to buy a 33 percent share in a major Canada-based oil producer acquired by China . China 's largest oil company, China National Petroleum Corp., took over PetroKazakhstan last year for US$4.2 billion ( Ђ 3.53 billion). It was China 's biggest foreign acquisition yet as part of Beijing 's efforts to secure foreign energy supplies for its booming economy.

Calgary, Alberta-based PetroKazakhstan has all of its energy assets in the oil-rich former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan .

"We are at a stage of completing talks with China 's CNPC to buy 33 percent of PetroKazakhstan and setting up a joint venture on the basis of the Shymkent oil refinery," Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov told parliament Wednesday.

Shymkent oil refinery belongs to PetroKazakhstan and is one of Kazakhstan 's three oil refineries. PetroKazakhstan is the third largest oil producer in the vast, sparsely populated Central Asian nation of some 15 million people. It is expected to become one of the world's largest oil exporters.

China seeks to tap Central Asian oil to help fuel industries in inland and western parts of the country. A pipeline between the two countries is already under construction. However, the Kazakh government has in recent years been aggressively trying to expand its own assets in the country's vast energy sector, which is currently dominated by Western investors. CNPC earlier denied reports that it was negotiating to sell part of PetroKazakhstan to the national Kazakh oil company KazMunaiGaz, reports the AP.

N.U.