Chairman says superior bid for Unocal should convince US opponents of deal Negotiations over CNOOC Ltd's US$18.5 billion takeover bid for Unocal are progressing smoothly, boosting confidence that an agreement will be reached soon, according to chairman and chief executive Fu Chengyu. 'We are very confident and strongly believe that our superior offer will prevail upon the shareholders of Unocal and the American regulators,' Mr Fu said in an interview on Monday. He said the company welcomed any US review of CNOOC's bid for the ninth largest American oil and gas company as he was convinced regulators would find it did not pose any threat to the United States. CNOOC announced on Sunday that it had filed formal notice of its takeover proposal with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a review board charged with vetting acquisitions of US businesses for breaches of national security. Analysts have described the filing as a 'smart move' aimed at starting the regulatory review process to remove one layer of uncertainty. 'We will completely satisfy any request from [the committee],' Mr Fu said. 'We will also make necessary adjustments and give up control of Unocal's assets in the United States if such a request is made.' So far, the committee has not announced when it will begin reviewing CNOOC's bid. For a man caught in the eye of a gathering political storm, Mr Fu, 54, was unusually calm, discussing the deal matter-of-factly. He said he was not surprised to hear the increasing opposition from the US Congress and some conservative commentators. 'We expected this to happen when we put in the bid last month,' he said. Mr Fu said he was heartened by the increasingly positive comments in the mainstream US media and from leading financiers, including Warren Buffett. 'The initial reaction from the American media was not very positive, but more and more people have come around and defended the free-market principles once they understood where we are coming from,' he said. As part of CNOOC's soft-ball tactics that appear to be working in its favour, Mr Fu declined to be drawn into a war of words with US congressmen and other fierce critics, including Peter Robertson, vice-chairman of Chevron, the second largest US oil company that is also bidding for Unocal. He denied he was acting on behalf of Beijing, saying that the CNOOC bid was part of the company's long-term plan to become a regional oil and gas player. Mr Fu also dismissed suggestions that CNOOC's parent, China National Offshore Oil Corp, of which he is president, had used government money to grant subsidised loans to the listed vehicle to fund the takeover. CNOOC is obtaining US$7 billion in loans from the parent at below-market interest rates. 'We have never had any government money for this deal. Our parent company has decided to provide preferential loans because we all believe it is a good deal and will have long-term benefits for shareholders. There is nothing wrong with it,' he said. Mr Fu said he did not allow himself to think about failure despite mounting political uncertainties in the US. 'Failure is not in my dictionary.'