ConocoPhillips to sell oil sands lease to Imperial, Exxon Canada


ConocoPhillips said it would sell its interest in an oil sands leasehold in Canada for about $720 million as part of its plan to restructure its assets and hive off its stake in six Alberta properties.

The company will sell the Clyden asset, located near the southern edge of the Athabasca oil sands and south of Fort McMurray, Alberta to Exxon Mobil Corp's Canadian unit and Imperial Oil Ltd , which is controlled by Exxon.

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Exxon Canada will buy a 72.5 percent interest in the leasehold, with Imperial acquiring the rest.

Conoco expects to record a after-tax gain of about $450 million from the sale.

Exploration and production companies such as Conoco and Marathon Oil Corp have put billions of dollars of oil and gas properties up for sale to focus capital on projects that generate higher returns.

Conoco, which expects proceeds of about $13.5 billion from the sale of non-core assets in 2012 and 2013, has sold its stakes in Australian gas assets, oilfields in Montana and North Dakota, and divested its Nigerian and Algerian businesses.

The company, which spun off its refining activities into Phillips 66 early last year, said the Clyden leasehold comprises 226,000 net acres of undeveloped land.

(Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)