CBJ — Canada believes there are opportunities for Chinese investment in the Alberta oilsands.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the federal government would welcome such investment in the sector.

There has been an exodus of international oil companies that this year alone have sold off around US$22.5 billion in oilsands assets to Canadian producers, stoking concerns the future development of the resource could stall.

Speaking during his trip to China, Carr said the government’s “minds are open” with regard to Chinese investment.

“We think there are opportunities and we laid out, along with experts from industry, what we believe to be opportunities for them,” Carr said, via conference call.

“We would welcome investment from any nation that’s interested in the oilsands. The trend of capital flows over the last little while has been international investors have been looking at their opportunities and decided to spread their resources, whereas Canadian investors have stepped up.”

The previous Canadian government under Conservative Stephen Harper had a policy of limiting control of the oilsands by state-owned companies, such as China’s CNOOC. They are still able to hold minority stakes in projects.