WASHINGTON (CP) - U.S. multinational CONOCO INC. mounted a political pressure campaign Wednesday to fight a bid by DOME PETROLEUM LTD. of Calgary to take over Conoco's Canadian subsidiary, HUDSON'S BAY OIL AND GAS LTD.
Conoco officials in New York and Washington offered copies of correspondence between congressmen and U.S. government officials that strongly protested Dome's offer to buy Conoco shares, claiming Canadian policy unfairly permits Dome an advantage in exchanging the shares for Hudson's Bay ownership.
Texas Democrat JIM WRIGHT, majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, claims that Canadian policies to increase domestic ownership of resource industries, together with existing legislation for screening foreign investment in Canada, constitute "a major shift in Canadian investment policy which will deny the traditional reciprocity U.S. investors have relied on in the past."
In a letter to U.S. State Secretary ALEXANDER HAIG, Wright urges "swift administrative and diplomatic efforts" to counter these trends in Canadian public policy, and adds if they are not successful Congress is prepared "to find a necessary and timely solution."
Conoco is claiming Canada's national energy program introduced in October, 1980, devalues its subsidiary Hudson's Bay's shares by putting the company at a disadvantage in operations on government lands compared with Canadian owned companies.
Since the national energy program bars companies that are not at least 50% Canadian-owned from leasing government lands or from receiving government grants covering the bulk of exploration costs, even Dome has cited Hudson's Bay's relative competitive disadvantage as one reason for its interest in acquiring control of the company.
What angers U.S. legislators, as well as Conoco, is that the United States imposes no similar restrictions on what Canadian companies nay do on U.S. soil. There have been repeated suggestions, however, in Congress and in the Reagan administration that Canada might be struck from a list of so called reciprocal countries that car, control leases on U.S. federal lands.