Oxy Middle East stake sale ‘falters’

Oil & gas rig05 July 2014, News Wires – Occidental Petroleum’s intended sale of a large chunk of its Middle East assets has hit the skids, with smaller piecemeal divestments now on the cards, according to a report.

The Los Angeles-based player has been touting up to 40% of its business in the Middle East and North Africa, but political tensions in the region appear to have put paid to any hoped-for large deal, Bloomberg reported.

Chief executive Steve Chazen had spoken openly since April last year about a potential deal for its Middle East and North Africa assets, which run across countries from Libya to Iraq to Yemen.

It was thought that the company could look to sell between 30% and 40% of its Middle East unit, with a top figure of $8 billion thought to be achievable.

A hoped-for sale to groups representing the governments of Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi has fallen through, however, with Oxy now mulling smaller, partial sales of the assets for as much as $1 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified sources.

A Oxy spokesperson told Bloomberg, however, that the company is still on course to sell off some stakes in the region, saying: “We continue to make progress on our discussions with our partners in the Middle East for the sale of a portion of our interests in the region.”

Oxy is the second-largest oil producer offshore Qatar. Its other holdings in the Middle East include a 24.5 percent stake in the Dolphin Gas Project in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and assets in Bahrain and Oman.

More than a third of its overall production comes from its assets in Oman, Qatar and UAE, where net developed and undeveloped assets total more than 5 million acres.

In Libya the company participated with state player National Oil Corporation in several fields in the Sirte basin.



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