September 26, 2016 / 5:07 PM / 2 years ago

Centrica in process of selling Canada oil and gas assets: spokesman

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Centrica (CNA.L), Britain’s largest utility company, is in the process of selling all of its Canadian oil and gas assets and exiting operations in the country, a company spokesman said on Monday.

Centrica and its joint venture partner, Qatar Petroleum, started the sales in process in July, spokesman Ross Davidson said, and will dispose of the natural gas assets purchased from Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) in 2013 for C$1 billion ($758.04 million).

North American natural gas prices have plummeted since then due to oversupply and Centrica said last year it no longer saw Canadian operations, which make up around a third of the company’s production, as core to the business.

Centrica produces around 64,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Canada, of which 90 percent is natural gas. The company’s operations are focused on southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We are focusing on Europe - Norway, the North Sea and Morecambe Bay,” Davidson said. “We have started disposal operations for Canadian assets, but do not know when that’s likely to close.”

Centrica employs around 500 people in Canada. The country’s energy sector has been roiled by mass layoffs and steep cuts in capital spending as companies have struggled to cope with the two-year oil price slump.

Editing by Alan Crosby

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