Nexen reports loss ahead of CNOOC takeover

Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:22pm EST
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* Q4 loss C$0.02/share vs year-earlier profit C$0.08/share

* $15.1 billion deal due to close this week

* Ottawa approval drew line against future oil sands deals

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Nexen Inc, whose $15.1 billion takeover by China's CNOOC Ltd is set to close this week, reported a fourth-quarter net loss on Monday as expectations for extended weakness in the North American natural gas market led to a multimillion-dollar asset impairment charge.

CNOOC's takeover of Nexen gives it a portfolio of oil sands assets in Canada and other energy holdings around the world. The deal forced Ottawa to develop policies to balance increased investment by foreign state-owned companies with the desire to keep control of strategic oil sands reserves in Canada.

In the fourth quarter, Nexen lost C$6 million ($5.9 million), or 2 Canadian cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of C$43 million, or 8 Canadian cents a share.

The Calgary-based company said a combination of lower estimated future gas prices and revisions to oilfield abandonment costs prompted a C$237 million non-cash impairment charge.

Revenue fell 5 percent to C$1.6 billion from C$1.7 billion.

Along with the Long Lake and Syncrude oil sands stakes in Alberta, CNOOC acquires Nexen's holdings in the North Sea, offshore West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico.   Continued...