Aggressively attempting to lower debt before its upcoming mergerwith Seagull Energy, Ocean Energy Inc. sold its Canadian oil andgas division Friday to Quintana Minerals Canada Corp. for $74million. OEI said shareholders for both companies are holdingspecial meetings March 30 to vote on the merger. If they vote infavor, the company will be officially merged that afternoon.

The company sold its entire Canadian presence Friday whenQuintana bought OEI’s Canadian subsidiary. “This was a stock deal,and Quintana bought the entire company,” said Mike Aldridge, OceanEnergy’s vice president of corporate communications. “We have noother Canadian assets.”

Earlier last week, Ocean Energy sold $42 million of Permian Basin,Gulf Coast and Gulf of Mexico assets (SeeDaily GPI, March 24). Combined, the two sales amount to $116million and 164 Bcf of gas.

“When we announced the proposed merger with Seagull, we saidthat we would manage debt and raise capital through the dispositionof assets, with a target of $200 million in asset sales for thecombined company in 1999,” said James C. Flores, Ocean Energypresident. “The $116 million of divestitures Ocean has announced,coupled with $38 million Seagull announced recently, represents asignificant step toward achieving that objective and demonstratesour commitment to debt reduction and the speed with which we areimplementing our business strategy.”

Ocean Energy expects the sale to close by the end of April withthe remainder closing before May. Nesbitt Burns, Inc. acted asfinancial advisor to Ocean Energy for the Canadian transaction.

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