Occidental Plans to Shed Assets

By OilFOXBusiness

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) said Friday it plans to shed some of its assets and reduce its stake in Plains All-American Pipeline (NYSE:PAA), taking its first steps as part of a strategic review.

The Los Angeles-based energy producer has seen production climb recently after expanding its footprint in the U.S. But falling energy prices have put pressure on Occidental to focus on more profitable businesses.

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Other oil and gas companies, such as Hess (NYSE:HES), Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR) and Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO), have also turned to asset sales or spinoffs.

Occidental indicated it will look to sell a minority interest in its Middle East and North America operations. It will also pursue strategic alternatives for certain Midcontinent assets, such as oil and gas interests in the Williston Basin, Hugoton Field, Piceance Basin and other Rocky Mountain assets.

Occidental expects proceeds of $1.3 billion from the sale of a piece of its 35% investment in Plains All-American Pipeline’s general partner. Occidental’s remaining interest would be worth about $3.4 billion.

In a note to clients on Friday, Sterne Agee estimated the Midcontinent portfolio could fetch more than $4 billion.

The total proceeds, along with excess cash, will be used to reduce the company’s capitalization, Occidental said.

“Our goal is to become a somewhat smaller company with more manageable exposure to political risk,” Chief Executive Stephen Chazen said in a statement.

The strategic review is set to be completed in the coming months. A decision on a potential spinoff of Occidental’s California segment is forthcoming, Sterne Agee noted.

Shares of Occidental were up 15 cents at $98.23 Friday afternoon.

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