Calgary-based Cenovus Energy Inc. said Tuesday that it would direct proceeds from its pending sale of Montney Shale assets to an undisclosed buyer toward accelerating corporate debt reduction and boosting returns to shareholders..

Cenovus Canada pumpjack

The Montney deal is one of two newly announced divestitures for Cenovus, which also agreed to sell 337 retail fuel sites to Western Canada fuel dealers Parkland Corp. and Federated Co-operatives Ltd. The transactions are worth a combined C$660 million ($528 million).

CEO Alex Pourbaix said the latest transactions would increase the value of total expected proceeds from 2021 asset sales to more than C$1.1 billion ($880 million). The firm also noted that it has reached an “interim net debt target” of C$10 billion ($8 billion).

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“Proceeds from these latest transactions will advance net debt repayment towards the company’s longer-term target of $8 billion ($6.4 billion) and enhance capacity to increase shareholder returns,” management said.

An undisclosed buyer agreed to pay C$238 million ($190 million) for the Montney assets in the Wembley area of northwestern Alberta. Production on the assets is currently 3,200 boe/d, with oil and natural gas liquids accounting for about 38% of flows.

Parkland and Federated agreed to pay C$420 million ($336 million) for the retail sites, which Cenovus acquired in its all-stock takeover of Husky Energy Inc. Cenovus said it would retain 170 Husky commercial automated cardlock refueling, bulk plant and trucker travel center locations.The Husky merger has helped to boost Cenovus’ performance in 2021. In November Cenovus said that it plans to reward stockholders next year with a C$2.2 billion ($1.8 billion) stock buyback program.