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Oxy Board Approves California Oil, Gas Spin-Off

Houston-based Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s (Oxy) board of directors on Thursday approved the spin-off of the company's substantial California oil and natural gas business into an independent, separately traded unit, California Resources Corp. (CRC).

The new company will be listed as "CRC" on the New York Stock Exchange, beginning Dec. 1.

Early this year, Oxy announced the spin-off, for which it made a formal federal regulatory filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June (see Daily GPI, June 6). Oxy will retain a 19.9% ownership interest in CRC for up to 18 months.

The companies will be separated through the distribution of 80.1% of the outstanding CRC shares to holders of Occidental common stock. The distribution is expected to occur on Nov. 30, with Oxy shareholders getting 0.4 shares of CRC stock for each of their Occidental common shares held on Nov. 17.

As outlined in the SEC filing, CRC will focus on "high-growth, high-return conventional and unconventional assets exclusively in California." The filing offered a glimpse at what CRC will look like as a standalone company, including its financial structure and risk factors. The new company will have the largest oil/gas acreage position in the state.

CRC is projected to have nearly 1,200 development wells this year and its 2014 capital spending program was estimated at $2.1 billion. "CRC will be California's largest natural gas producer and the largest oil/gas producer on a gross-operated barrels of oil equivalent basis," the company said.

As previously announced, the eight-member CRC board will include William Albrecht, executive chairman, and CRC CEO Todd Stevens.

Last year, Oxy CEO Stephen Chazen began talking up the spin-off, saying that "creating two separate energy companies will result in more focused businesses that will be competitive industry leaders." Chazen was tapped to head the effort to separate last year (see Daily GPI, May 6, 2013).

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