US oil producer Devon Energy will sell the bulk of its conventional assets in Canada for around $2.8 billion in cash to Canadian Natural Resources.
The sale—expected to close in the second quarter--is in line with Oklahoma City-based Devon’s new strategy, which includes divesting natural gas holdings and refocusing on North American crude oil assets, which are more profitable.
"This tax-efficient transaction provides for a clean exit from our Canadian conventional business at a value of nearly 7 times 2013 EBITDA, a substantial premium compared to Devon's current trading multiple," Devon CEO John Richels said in a statement.
Devon’s 2.2 million acres of conventional assets in Canada currently produce about 383 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, 10,800 barrels per day of light crude oil, and 12,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids.
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Left out of the deal is Devon’s heavy-oil operations in Alberta and natural gas-rich assets in the Horn River area of northeastern British Columbia.
According to Devon, the proceeds from the sale in Canada will be used to repay debt in the Texas Eagle Ford shale, where the company has invested $6 billion since November.
For Canadian Natural Resources out of Calgary, the acquisition of Devon’s conventional assets could increase the company’s total production by some 11%--or to over 780,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Canadian Natural Resources shares went up 3.7% on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the announcement.
In the meantime, Devon has seen a boost in oil production to a record 177,000 barrels a day—a 17% gain over the same quarter of 2012--largely due to increases in its Permian Basin operations in west Texas.
In its fourth quarter 2013 results, Devon reported adjusted income of $447 million, or $1.10 a share, along with a net income of $207 million, or 51 cents a share. This compares to a loss of $357 million, or 89 cents a share, in the same period of 2012.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com