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Oxy Streamlines Permian Portfolio, Snags Hess EOR Properties

Houston-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. (Oxy) went on a shopping and selling spree Monday in its favorite oil and natural gas mall, the Permian Basin, reducing its net acreage but adding to its growing enhanced oil recovery (EOR) properties.

The multiple transactions included a $600 million purchase of EOR assets in the Permian from Hess Corp. The purchase was effective June 1, and the deal is expected to close Aug. 1, according to New York City-based Hess.

In recent years, Oxy’s senior executives have designated the Permian Basin as its U.S. onshore growth engine, with CEO Vicki Hollub and Jody Elliott, U.S. president for oil/gas operations, stressing the value of the 2.5 million net Permian acreage. "It is pretty hard to drill a dry hole there," Hollub told analysts in February.

In announcing Monday's transactions, Oxy officials said that on a combined basis the deals require no net cash outlay while adding about 3,500 boe/d to production. Oxy would reduce its overall West Texas position in the Permian by 13,000 net acres and 4,700 boe/d, divesting nonstrategic assets in Andrews, Martin and Pecos counties and adding incremental acreage in Glasscock County.

Hollub said the transactions support Oxy's "pathway to break even at $50/bbl after dividend and production growth and our long-term, returns-focused value proposition." She said the deals accelerate cash flow and enhance the company's future returns. Oxy is exchanging “low-priority development acreage for low-decline, low-capital intensity EOR production," she said.

Hess plans to use proceeds from the EOR sale to fund growth opportunities. It sold its stakes in four Permian-based properties -- Seminole-San Andres Unit (34.2%) and the Seminole Gas Processing Plant (46.6%), both in Texas, the West Bravo Dome carbon dioxide (CO2) field (100%), and a nonoperating interest in Bravo Dome (9.9%) in New Mexico.

The EOR acquisitions would increase Oxy's production in the EOR space by 8,200 boe/d, based on reported output by Hess for 2016.

Oxy expects up to $600 million in net proceeds from its Permian transactions, where no near-term development was planned. In addition to the assets cited by Hess, Oxy said two CO2 pipelines, Sheep Mountain and Rosebud, were also acquired in the purchase.

"Occidental has had an interest in these EOR assets since 2000, and the Seminole-San Andres Unit will become the company's largest domestic U.S. oil producing EOR unit," a spokesperson said.

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