Noble Energy to sell Kansas assets to Citation Oil for $140 million
BY SAABIRA CHAUDHURI
HOUSTON, Texas -- Noble Energy Inc. has agreed to sell certain oil and natural-gas properties in Kansas to an affiliate of privately held Houston oil and gas company Citation Oil & Gas Corp. for about $140 million, as the oil-and-gas explorer continues to get rid of noncore assets.
Noble's recent asset sales come as the company shifts the focus of its capital spending on higher-return areas, such as horizontal drilling in the U.S. and offshore projects in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Mediterranean and offshore West Africa. In May, the company agreed to sell its stake in certain properties in the U.K.'s North Sea to Maersk Oil North Sea Ltd. for about $127 million. Last month, Noble agreed to sell certain oil and natural-gas assets in the Anadarko Basin to Unit Corp. (UNT) for $617.1 million.
"The Kansas property divestiture is our third announced sale this quarter and completes the first phase of our onshore noncore divestment plan," Chief Operating Officer David L. Stover said.
The properties included in the sale unveiled Monday include Noble's interest in about 250 producing wells on about 14,000 net acres. The production is almost entirely crude oil.
The deal is expected to close in September.
Mr. Stover noted that the transactions, along with the sales of Noble's Dumbarton and Lochranza assets in the North Sea, are expected to generate about $1.1 billion of after-tax proceeds by the end of the third quarter.
The next phase of Noble's noncore divestment program, continuing into 2013, involves small asset packages in the Mid-continent, Gulf Coast, San Juan, and Ark-La-Tex areas and the company's remaining assets in the North Sea.
Last month, Noble said its second-quarter earnings slipped 0.7% as operating expenses increased and realized prices for crude oil fell, though volume increased.
And in December, Noble announced a major natural-gas discovery in the waters near Cyprus, building on a string of recent success in the area known as the greater Levant basin. The company and its partners have made several discoveries in the basin, which is off the coasts of Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and Syria. This could help make the area a major natural-gas exporter.
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