ConocoPhillips (COP) is looking to sell its 8.4% interest in a Kazakhstan oil venture to India’s biggest energy explorer for $5 billion as it continues to divest assets in an ongoing effort to invest in new high-growth regions and boost profitability.
The Houston-based oil giant said it plans to sell its interest in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement to ONGC Videsh Limited, the international arm of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp.
ConocoPhillips estimated the carrying value of the assets related to its Kashagan interest, the word’s biggest oilfield discovery since 1968 located in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea, was about $5.5 billion as of Sept. 30.
The transaction, expected to close in the first half of 2013, remains subject to various government approvals. ConocoPhillips said it notified the Kazakhstan government on Monday of its intention to sell the stake and plans to take an after-tax impairment charge of about $400 million in the fourth quarter.
The sale will enable the Texas oil explorer to acquire additional stakes in high-producing emerging markets, including other areas in Kazakhstan. The sale will bring total proceeds under its 2012-2013 disposition program to $7 billion, positioning the company to meet its goal of $8 billion to $10 billion by the end of 2013.
“The sale of this quality asset is an important component of our ongoing strategic asset disposition program,” ConocoPhillips’ executive vice president of commercial, business development and corporate planning, Don Wallette, said in a statement.
Production of Kashagan, which holds more than 30 billion barrels of oil-in-place, of which an estimated 8 billion to 12 billion are potentially recoverable, is expected to begin in 2013.