UPDATE 2-Nexen may sell gas, power marketing businesses

Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:18pm EDT

Related Topics

* Hires adviser to study options for gas, power marketing

* Had already curtailed speculative trading

* No estimate of value yet (Adds details)

By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta, July 23 (Reuters) - Nexen Inc NXY.TO may sell its natural gas and power marketing units as part of a strategic review aimed at further reducing the financial risk in its overall operations, it said on Thursday.

Nexen, Canada's No. 4 independent oil explorer, said it hired an adviser to help it determine what to do with those businesses, which have been realigned to reduce the speculative trading that had created volatility in its financial results.

"We addressed that in the back part of last year and into this year, so a lot of the risk is gone and is behind us," Nexen Vice-President Michael Harris said.

"Now we look at it and say: Where do we want to go with this?"

Nexen's production is weighted 85 percent to crude oil and the remainder to natural gas, but its marketing activities have been opposite to that, Harris said.

He said the company does not have an idea of value for the units yet or an indication of third-party interest.

"This is Day 1. We'll have to go through the process and see what comes out of the strategic review," Harris said.

According to Nexen's website, its natural gas marketing business its one of the top 10 in North America, trading more than 6 billion cubic feet a day. It also manages more than 50 billion cubic feet of gas storage capacity.

The power business is responsible for Nexen's 50 percent stake in a 120 megawatt generating station in Balzac, Alberta, and its half interest in the 70 MW Soderglen, Alberta, wind farm. It performs wholesale and retail operations in Alberta and is expanding in North America and Europe.

Chief Executive Marvin Romanow said in a statement that Nexen has no plans to give up its capacity to market its growing crude oil and shale gas production as part of the strategic review.

Nexen shares closed up 51 Canadian cents, or 2 percent, at C$22.36 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It announced the strategic review after the market closed.

($1=$1.09 Canadian) (Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson)

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