The entry of CNOOC and Sinopec into the North Sea is a first for the Chinese.
However, it is not a first to see state-owned oil firms in the oil province.
Abu Dhabi’s national energy company Taqa entered the region in 2007, when it bought interests in a number of assets.
Then, in 2008, it took over a number of assets as Taqa Bratani. Since then it has gone on to be one of the fastest-growing exploration and production companies in the North Sea, employing 2,000 offshore and onshore in offices at Westhill.
Aberdeen-based oil explorer Dana Petroleum hit the headlines in 2010 when it at first resisted a takeover bid by South Korea’s national oil firm KNOC.
However, the deal finally went through and the firm this year said it was aiming to nearly double production to about 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) by 2016.
Chief executive Marcus Richards said the growth was to help support KNOC’s ambitions to increase its production to 1.3million boepd by 2030 as Korea, another growing country, increased its need for oil.
Earlier this year the national oil company of Kuwait – Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration – was reported to have walked away from takeover talks with North Sea-focused oil and gas explorer Ithaca Energy.
Last month Japanese oil and gas firm Mitsui bought minority shares in the Alba and Britannia fields from BP following a major investment in Global Energy Group earlier in the year.