Investor Carl Icahn, a well-known "shareholder activist," has purchased about 3.1 million shares in Anadarko Petroleum Corp., a stake worth an estimated $133.4 million on March 31, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Two years ago, Icahn Partners Master Fund LP teamed up with Jana Partners LP to acquire about $1 billion of Kerr-McGee Corp. stock (see Daily GPI, Feb. 23, 2005); then the group called for massive changes, insisting that Kerr-McGee sell its chemical unit, sell forward energy reserves to lock in higher commodity prices and use cash to buy back $10 billion in stock rather than finance deepwater exploration. Kerr-McGee resolved an expected proxy fight after complying with many of the requests (see Daily GPI, April 15, 2005).

Anadarko bought Kerr-McGee and Western Gas Resources for $21.1 billion cash last year (see Daily GPI, June 26, 2006). Since completing the massive deal, Anadarko has been selling off noncore assets to pay down its debt. It expects to sell another $2 billion worth of assets this year. CEO Jim Hackett said earlier this year that Anadarko's year-end 2006 reserves were "lower than anticipated" because the company did not "predict the downward spike in commodity prices" (see Daily GPI, Feb. 7). Downward reserve revisions included 99 MMboe, which resulted from lower prices at year-end, and 136 MMboe from "performance issues," most notably at its K2 Unit in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last week, Japanese refiner Nippon Oil Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp. disclosed they had spent $1.2 billion to purchase an estimated 23% stake in the K2 Unit. Nippon and Mitsubishi will each hold an 11.6% stake in the field. Anadarko had announced the sale in March, but it had not disclosed the buyers (see Daily GPI, March 13).

Earlier this month, Anadarko said an unexpected windfall tax on its production in Algeria will cost the company nearly half a billion dollars this year (see Daily GPI, May 2). In the first quarter, net earnings fell to $104 million (23 cents/share) from $660 million ($1.42) in 1Q2006.

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