A Canadian court has delayed until next week a ruling on the proposed acquisition of PetroKazakhstan by China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC). The court will decide whether to accept or reject opposition by Russia's largest oil company, Lukoil, to the deal, which has won near-unanimous approval from PetroKazakhstan's shareholders. If the acquisition goes ahead, it will be China's largest overseas corporate takeover to date. Earlier this year, CNOOC tried but failed to acquire United States oil major Unocal Corp. More than 99 per cent of PetroKazakhstan shareholders had approved CNPC's offer of US$55 per share in cash or US$4.18 billion, PetroKazakhstan said yesterday. PetroKazakhstan, a Canadian oil company with operations in Kazakhstan, appeared before a Canadian court yesterday seeking a final order approving CNPC's acquisition, the company said. The court said it would delay its decision until October 26. Lukoil, the world's second-largest private oil company by proven reserves, told the court it opposed the acquisition and requested a delay until a Swedish arbitration institute decided whether Lukoil had a pre-emptive right to buy out its joint venture with PetroKazakhstan. The venture, Turgai Petroleum, accounts for 20 per cent of PetroKazakhstan's reserves. PetroKazakhstan said 'Lukoil's request is without merit' and that it would 'vigorously oppose it'. 'The Canadian court will likely approve CNPC's acquisition, since Prime Minister Paul Martin has approved the transaction. Lukoil may pull out at the last minute, as Russia wants to be nice to China. Russia is a net exporter of oil and doesn't need oil,' one analyst said. Lukoil has been aggressively acquiring oil assets in Kazakhstan. The firm, whose turnover is more than US$20 billion, announced on October 17 that it had acquired 65 per cent of Nelson Resources for US$1.24 billion. Nelson is an oil producer with operations in Kazakhstan and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Lukoil had offered to fully acquire Nelson for US$2 billion, 13 per cent less than Nelson's closing share price of C$2.96 ($19.46) on September 29, the day before the offer was disclosed. Lukoil plans to buy Nelson for US$7.40 per barrel of reserves, less than the US$8.31 CNPC is paying for PetroKazakhstan. Nelson has proven and probable reserves of 250 million barrels while PetroKazakhstan has 550 million barrels. To finance its acquisition, Lukoil had secured a US$2 billion loan from Citigroup, the oil firm said. Lukoil's acquisition is subject to approval by the Kazakh government and a Nelson shareholders' meeting next month.