Occidental approves streamlining measures

Occidental Petroleum Corp. directors have approved asset sales and other moves as part of “a strategic review to streamline and focus operations.”

The board approved:

• Pursuit of the sale of a minority interest in operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

• Pursuit of “strategic alternatives” for specific Midcontinent assets, including interests in the Williston basin, Hugoton natural gas field, the Piceance basin, and elsewhere in the Rocky Mountains.

• Sale of part of a 35% investment in the general partner of Plains All-American Pipeline Ltd. for pretax proceeds of $1.3 billion.

In the Middle East-North Africa region, Occidental has interests in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Libya, Iraq, and Libya, with reserves totaling 929 million boe at yearend 2012 and net production in the first 6 months of this year of 263,000 boe/d.

The interests for which Occidental is seeking strategic alternatives in the US include 2.5 million net acres, 211 million boe of reserves, and 66,000 boe/d of net production in this year’s first half.

After the planned sale of the Plains All-American Pipeline stake, Occidental’s remaining interest, based on the initial public offering price, would be worth about $3.4 billion.

“These are the first formal steps in our effort to streamline the business, concentrate in areas where we have depth and scale, and improve overall profitability, said Stephen I. Chazen, president and chief executive officer. “Our goal is to become a somewhat smaller company with more manageable exposure to political risk.”

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