India and China join forces to buy Canadian holdings

I'm not sure what to make of the report that China National Petroleum and Oil and Natural Gas of India are going to pay $576 million for the Syrian assets of Petro-Canada. Is this noteworthy, or totally par for the course?
China and India have been moving recently to build closer political and commercial relations after decades of tense relations. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China visited New Delhi in April and signed a joint statement with his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, promising to expand cooperation in promoting energy security.
And when this information is coupled with the following remark?
Amir Arif, an energy analyst with Friedman Billings Ramsey in Virginia, said U.S. companies were not interested because of the political risk. "In terms of price, it was a little lower than we were expecting, but it's a tough asset to market with a limited audience," Arif said.
An article published in the Globe and Mail yesterday noted the following:
The terms that Syria has set for Al Furat make each barrel of production only marginally profitable. For Petrocan, the Syrian wells accounted for just 4 per cent of its consolidated earnings from operations, but the rapidly declining rates of production dragged down the company's performance.

So if these wells are such a waste of time, why would India and China be embarking on an apparently historic partnership to get at them? Maybe they're testing out the waters? (It appears that this is the second such joint venture for India and China, after a previous one in the Sudan.)
During its growth spurt in the 1990s Japan overpaid for a wide range of energy assets, which it later sold. I suspect this is a partial answer to much of what China is doing globally in the sector.

However, in cases such as Syria and Iran, China is probably able to buy assets at a massive discount compared to international companies as they can overcome political risk. I wouldn't be surprsed if these two countries (and others) are selling energy at firesale rates to China in order to get political protection. If I were concerned about the UN acting against me, I would also look to bribe someone who could help.

The point may be to establish presence in the region rather than the oil itself.
Both Jack's and Squeaky's points have merit. When we're talking about this much oil
The Syrian government still needs to approve the takeover of the assets, which represent forecast 2006 production of about 58,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, Petro-Canada said. As of the end of 2004, the assets accounted for 66.3 million barrels of proved reserves before royalties, or 24.2 million barrels after royalties, according to Petro-Canada.
the only alternatives are 1) political gain or 2) sheer desperation.
It doesn't seem that long ago that China and India were too poverty stricken to compete with the West for international assets.