July 14, 2016 / 10:37 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 3-Devon sells Alberta pipeline stake to CPPIB-backed company

* Sells Access pipeline stake to Wolf Midstream for $1.1 bln

* Completes divestiture plan with $3.2 bln in proceeds (Adds shares, details)

By Amrutha Gayathri

July 14 (Reuters) - Devon Energy Corp will sell its 50 percent stake in a pipeline in Western Canada for $1.1 billion to a midstream oil and gas company backed by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, completing its divestiture plan announced in December.

Shares of U.S.-based Devon rose 2 percent in premarket trading on Thursday.

“...Devon’s divestiture program is now complete with proceeds totaling $3.2 billion, surpassing the top end of our $2 billion to $3 billion guidance range,” Chief Executive Dave Hager said.

Oil prices are yet to fully recover from the slump last year, forcing companies in the sector to sell non-core assets to lower debt and finance new projects.

This has given investment companies, including CPPIB, a chance to buy assets at attractive valuations.

In the past month, CPPIB, which invests on behalf of Canada’s national pension plan, has acquired assets from Canadian producers Penn West Petroleum Ltd and Paramount Resources Ltd through companies it holds stake in.

Devon will use the proceeds of the sale of stake in the Access pipeline to Wolf Midstream Inc to finance drilling activity in the U.S. shale fields, including the Stack basin in Oklahoma and the Delaware basin, Hager said.

The company will continue to use the pipeline, which carries heavy oil across northeastern Alberta, for a fee. This is expected to push up the annual lease operating costs at Devon’s Jackfish complex by about $100 million.

After the deal closes in the third quarter, Devon’s pipeline assets will be limited to those held through its master limited partnership EnLink Midstream Partners LP.

Devon’s partner in the Access pipeline, Calgary-based MEG Energy Corp, has also been looking to sell some or all of its stake.

MEG Chief Executive William McCaffrey said in April that talks were progressing on the sale, adding that more than one party was interested in the asset.

Devon shares were trading at $39.80 before the bell. Up to Wednesday’s close, the stock had risen by about a quarter this year. (Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian and Kirti Pandey)

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