June 8, 2012 / 5:39 PM / 6 years ago

Koch seeks to sell about 50 percent of oil sands unit

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Koch Industries KCHIN.UL aims to sell about a half interest in six Canadian oil sands properties to help fund their development, a spokesman for the privately held conglomerate said on Friday.

The company is not saying what it expects in proceeds for the interests, which it put up for auction on Thursday. But it will consider “all competencies and capabilities” as it reviews bids, spokesman Paul Baltzer said in an email.

The assets have estimated recoverable resource potential of 2.9 billion barrels, and one of the properties has regulatory approval for a 10,000 barrel a day steam-assisted gravity drainage project.

The production method involves injecting steam into the ground to loosen up the tar-like bitumen so it can be pumped to the surface in wells.

Koch’s offering follows other oil sands properties onto the market, including a multibillion-dollar package of assets owned by ConocoPhillips (COP.N), said to be of interest to India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC.NS), and a smaller holding from Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) called Orion.

It comes with Canada’s energy industry set to nearly double oil sands production to 3.1 million barrels a day within the next eight years, according to an industry forecast released this week.

Bids for the Koch properties are due August 9.

Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by David Gregorio

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