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U.S. oilfield services group Weatherford International has hired advisors, including Morgan Stanley, to help it sell some of its units beginning early next year, in an effort to offload some of its $7.9 billion debt.
Weatherford is looking to sell its drilling tools and wellheads units, the international pressure pumping business, and the artificial lift business, Reuters reported on Friday, citing banking sources.
U.S. company Superior Energy Services, Canada’s Calfrac Well Services, as well as energy funds backed by private equity firms are potentially interested in Weatherford’s pressure pumping assets, according to one of Reuters’ sources.
Oilfield services firms with operations in the Middle East and North Africa—core areas of Weatherford’s operations—could also be potential bidders, another source told Reuters.
“This process is already underway and the company hopes to monetize some of the rigs before the end of the year,” one of the banking sources said.
“Following our strategic review over the last three months, we’ve identified several businesses which in addition to the already ongoing divestiture processes, are not critical to our strategy going forward and we think these businesses can create more value for other owners,” Weatherford President and Chief Executive Officer Mark A. McCollum said at the conference call for the Q3 results earlier this month.
Although the market to sell is not immediately favorable, Weatherford is still getting prepared and believes it can generate around $500 million in additional proceeds from divestitures over the next 12 months, McCollum added.
Weatherford, like all other oilfield services firms, has been hard hit by the oil price crash, and has cut jobs in the thousands since the start of the downturn. Analysts expect consolidation in the oilfield services industry to continue.
In March this year, Weatherford and Schlumberger agreed to form a joint venture targeting North America’s unconventional resource development. Weatherford sees the transaction as one that would allow it to deleverage its balance sheet while keeping a significant exposure to the unconventional market.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.