Pioneer Natural Resources announced the closing of a number ofasset and property sales yesterday totaling $286 million. TheIrving, TX-based exploration and production company said $256million of the total will be used to reduce outstanding bank debt.

And the fire sale is not over. Additional transactions for thesale of Texas and Canadian properties are anticipated to closeduring the third quarter, bringing the value of total proceeds toover $400 million. Susan Spratlen, a Pioneer spokesperson, saidonce all the sales have closed, the company will have reduced itsdebt to $1.75 billion. The company has a 12-month goal to reduceits debt to $1.5 billion.

“By divesting non-strategic properties and streamliningoperations, we have reduced debt and improved operating margins andwill now focus on further maximizing the value of our coreproperties. We move forward with one of the highest quality assetbases in our industry as a foundation from which to execute ourgrowth strategy,” Scott D. Sheffield, Pioneer’s CEO said.

The key component of the transactions was a $245 million propertysale to Tulsa, OK-based Prize Energy Corp. (See Daily GPI, May 18). It included 400 fields with atotal production of 60 MMcf/d. Pioneer still has involvement withthese fields, however, as the company is a preferred shareholder ofPrize Energy and these fields are Prize’s initial assets. Spratlenalso added the sale of these fields is just a small portion of theirMidcontinent production operations.

Pioneer also closed a West Texas property and seven Canadianproperty sales yesterday for a total of $41 million.

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