The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was shrouded with disagreement, and uncertainty as it was awarded in a rather unique fashion. For the first time, the recipient was not present at the ceremony, as Liu Xiaobo, the winner of the coveted honor, is currently imprisoned in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee chose Xiaobo for being a strong spokesman of fundamental human rights in China but this decision came was seen as an insult to the Chinese government, as Xiaobo has questioned many of the policies that communist leadership has adopted, earning him an 11 year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”. Many were worried that this award would damage relations between China and Norway, but a recent oil deal has investors now thinking otherwise.
China Oilfield Services Ltd (COSL), a unit of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (NYSE:CEO), recently signed a major deal with the Norwegian oil giant Statoil (NYSE:STO). “Under the five-year deal, Statoil will deploy an advanced COSL rig starting in the middle of next year in the stormy waters of Norway’s continental shelf” writes Simon Hall. Though a value of the deal has yet to be disclosed, it seems likely that it will run into the hundreds of millions, as previous rigs in the same area have both been valued around $400 million.
Many hope that this deal will help smooth over relations between the two nations, as the Nobel Peace Prize controversy has a number of leaders up in arms. Already, the two countries have heavy ties as Norway imported $5.08 billion worth of goods from China in the first 10 months of this year, a figure representing roughly 8% of the country’s total imports. Likewise, a number of other Chinese companies have done business with Statoil in 2010 including China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, who is currently teaming up with Statoil in a study of deepwater exploration in the resource-rich North Sea.
If this deal shows us anything, it is that the Chinese are willing to put political differences aside in order to help secure further supplies in key natural resources such as oil. As this major deal is pushed through, we outline two ETFs to take advantage of burgeoning economic relations between these two countries.
Global X China Energy ETF (NYSEARCA:CHIE)
This fund seeks to replicate the performance of S-BOX China Energy Index, which is measures the performance of the energy sector in China. Top holdings in this fund include CNOOC (11.8%), China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (NYSE:SNP) (11.1%), and COSL (4.7%). CHIE has returned approximately 6% on the year. With holdings in both CNOOC and COSL, this ETF will give investors exposure to the growing partnership between major Chinese energy firms and Norway’s Statoil.
Global X FTSE Norway 30 ETF (NYSEARCA:NORW)
NORW is designed to reflect the broad based equity performance in Norway. The fund is dominated by the Oil & Gas (41.4%) and financials (18%) sectors. As such, the top holding in this ETF is Statoil, making up just under 19% of the entire ETF. This fund was brought to market just weeks ago, and is relatively flat from a performance standpoint. But since Statoil makes up a large percentage of this fund, it could see strong gains based on this new rig, and further deals with the energy-hungry Chinese.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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