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Occidental to Sell Stake in Largest US Gas Field

California-based oil and gas developer Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) has announced plans to sell a $1.4 billion stake in the largest natural gas field in North America, as the company’s shares take a three-month dive.

Occidental will sell its Hugoton field assets for $1.4 billion as part of the company's effort to boost its quarterly dividend and share repurchase program as the company shares have fallen 4.9% in the last three months.

The company has begun selling off non-core assets, and the Hugoton Field divestment is part of its strategic review to streamline and focus operations where it has depth and scale to better execute its long-term strategy.

The company’s average net production at the field in 2013 was approximately 110 million cubic feet equivalent per day. Some 30% of that was oil, according to the company.

The sale is expected to be completed in the next two months and the buyer remains undisclosed.

The Hugoton field is said to be the largest natural gas field in North America and one of the largest in the world.

The Hugoton properties consist of more than 1.4 million net acres, spanning southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, and eastern Colorado.

The company also announced that its Board has raised the dividend by $0.08 to $0.72 per quarter, or an annual rate of $2.88 per share, from the previous annual rate of $2.56 per share.

The Board also has authorized the repurchase of an additional 30 million shares of the company's common stock. The share repurchase authorization remaining at the end of 2013 was 7 million shares.

By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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