On June 1, 2010, Penn West Energy Trust (“Penn West”) and an affiliate of China Investment Corporation (“CIC”) closed a joint venture partnership to develop Penn West's bitumen assets located in the Peace River area in northern Alberta. Penn West contributed the assets (valued at approximately $1.8 billion) to the partnership and has retained a 55 per cent interest in the partnership. CIC has acquired a 45 per cent interest in the partnership by investing approximately $312 million in the partnership and committing to carry a portion of Penn West's share of the partnership's future capital and operating costs totalling approximately an additional $505 million. An affiliate of Penn West will serve as operator of the assets.
Penn West also closed the private placement of 23,524,209 trust units of Penn West to an affiliate of CIC for proceeds of approximately $435 million.
Based in Calgary, Penn West is one of the largest conventional oil and natural gas producers in North America and the largest producer of light and medium oil in western Canada. Penn West operates throughout the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin on a land base encompassing approximately 7 million acres. CIC is headquartered in Beijing, China and was founded in 2007 as a wholly state-owned company.
Penn West was represented by Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP with a team that included John Cuthbertson, Mark Houston and Jody Wivcharuk (energy); Allan Twa, Jeff Oke and Lindsay Cox (securities) and Jeff Fortin and Kirk Lamb (tax).
CIC was advised by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP as to both matters of Canadian and US law by a team that included Robert Desbarats, Paula Olexiuk, Simon Baines and Robert Ashcroft (energy); Frank Turner, Christopher Murray and Gordon Cameron (M&A); Peter Glossop (regulatory); Kevin Cramer (US securities law) and Stan Ebel and Patrick Marley (tax).