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China’s slowing economy has yet to dent its national oil companies’ thirst for foreign crude. The Chinese National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) has agreed to buy 8.3 per cent of Kashagan, a giant oil project in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea. The deal gives the Chinese outfit access to one of the world’s last great untapped finds. The cost – $5-billion (U.S.), plus $3-billion towards Kazakhstan’s share of a tricky future expansion – shows that, for China, resources remain scarcer than capital, despite a drive to improve spending discipline at PetroChina, CNPC’s listed subsidiary.