China's state-owned CNOOC has reportedly accepted management and employment conditions set by the Canadian government to win approval for its C$15.1 billion (US$15.15 billion) takeover of Nexen, but key issues still need to be sorted out.
Bloomberg, citing two people familiar with the matter, said the Canadian government had taken on board requests made by Alberta Premier Alison Redford last month, which included guarantees that at least half of Nexen's board and management positions be held by Canadians.
However, important differences centring on the commercial side of the deal - notably, guarantees on employment and capital expenditure - could still hold up the deal's ultimate approval, according to one source quoted by Reuters.
Earlier this month, CNOOC chairman Wang Yilin said he was confident of winning regulatory approval from Canada this year for its bid for Nexen, despite Ottawa twice extending its review of the deal.
The Canadian government has been conducting a review to determine whether a takeover by the Chinese enterprise would bring a "net benefit" to its country. Ottawa said on 2 November that it had extended the review by a month to 10 December.
Reuters said a CNOOC spokeswoman in Beijing had declined to comment on the report but reiterated the company's pledge to retain all of Nexen's management team and employees.
CNOOC's Hong Kong-listed shares were up 2% on Tuesday morning. Nexen shares were trading down 1.42% at $25.06 apiece on Tuesday around midday in New York.