Apache to sell stakes in LNG projects to Woodside for $2.75 billion

Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:10pm EST
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(Reuters) - Apache Corp (APA.N: Quote) said on Monday it would sell its stakes in two liquefied natural gas projects, Wheatstone LNG in Australia and Kitimat LNG in Canada, to Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd (WPL.AX: Quote) for $2.75 billion.

Apache, under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners, said in July it planned to exit the two projects. The company is also evaluating a sale or spinoff of its international operations to focus on North American shale wells.

Woodside Petroleum, Australia's top oil and gas producer, said in August it was looking at potential acquisitions as companies such as Shell and Apache offload assets, amid worries about high costs and future prices.

Apache said it would sell its 13 percent stake in Wheatstone, majority-owned by Chevron Corp (CVX.N: Quote), and its 65 percent interest in the WA-49-L oil and gas block, located offshore western Australia.

The company is also selling its 50 percent stake in the Kitimat LNG project, a joint venture with Chevron, and related oil and gas assets in the Horn River and Liard natural gas basins in British Columbia, Canada.

Analysts expressed relief that Apache was able to strike a deal so soon in a time when crude prices have fallen more than 40 percent.

"This is a big win for Apache," analysts at Simmons & Co said in a note to clients. "Given the steep fall in oil prices, we were worried that it might take longer to close this deal.

Bernstein Research analyst Bob Brackett described the purchase $2.75 billion purchase price as "fair."

The deals are expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, the company said.   Continued...

Rigs contracted by Apache Corp drill for crude oil locked tight in shale in west Texas’ Permian Basin near the town of Mertzon, Texas October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Terry Wade