Exclusive: ConocoPhillips puts Canadian natgas assets on the block - sources
By John Tilak and Nia Williams
TORONTO/CALGARY (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips (COP.N: Quote) has decided to sell several of its Canadian conventional natural gas assets in a deal that could fetch as much as $2 billion as the biggest U.S. independent oil producer pulls back further from Canada, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The company expects the sale to bring down its debt load and rebalance its portfolio, the people said, declining to be identified as the process is confidential.
Several investment banks have made pitches to ConocoPhillips in recent weeks and the Houston-based company is close to hiring a financial adviser to run a formal sale process, the people said.
The company is looking to identify properties, then bundle and sell them as packages, the people said.
When contacted by Reuters, ConocoPhillips spokesman Rob Evans pointed to an announcement last November that said the company could sell up to $8 billion in natural gas assets.
Evans said that disposition program "largely focused on non-strategic North American gas assets, including select assets in Canada."
The Houston-based company is expected to sell some of its Western Canadian assets, which include Deep Basin, running from northwestern Alberta to northeastern British Columbia; Clearwater and Kaybob-Edson in west-central Alberta; and Plains, which straddles parts of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
ConocoPhillips does not plan to offload its oil sands properties and assets it owns in the Montney region, the people said. Most of the rest of its Canadian assets could soon be on the block, they added. Continued...