Talisman Energy mulls partners for Canadian shale fields

Tue Jan 8, 2013 1:50pm EST

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* May look for partners in B.C. shale fields
    * Shares rise 0.6 pct

    CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Talisman Energy Inc
 said on Tuesday it may seek partners for its Canadian
shale-gas holdings as Canada's No.6 oil and gas producer
continues a restructuring focused on boosting its lagging
shares. 
    The company may look for a another partner willing to help
it develop an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas
contained in its Montney shale-gas properties in northeastern
British Columbia.  
    The Montney is one of a handful of massive shale-gas fields
in northern British Columbia that have attracted international
interest from companies looking to export the gas through a
handful of liquefied-natural gas (LNG) facilities planned for
the province's northern coast. 
    The size of the resource and the costs of building
infrastructure in the remote region have prompted a number of
partnerships and acquisitions, including Chevron Corp's 
planned purchase of a half-stake in the plant Kitimat LNG
facility planned by Apache Corp, along with a stake in a
number of shale properties. 
    "There's a lot of interest in the Montney from large players
as they think about LNG-type opportunities," Scott Thomson,
Talisman's chief financial officer, said in a presentation to a
New York investment conference. 
    "That may produce an opportunity for us to partner, in terms
of getting into an LNG-type opportunity, to monetize certain
aspects of our Montney position."
    Talisman is refocusing its sprawling international
operations as investors press the company to improve its
profitability. The company replaced its chief executive in
September and has announced plans to chop capital spending and
exit unprofitable exploration regions like Peru and Poland. 
    Since replacing John Manzoni with board member and former
TransCanada Corp chief executive Hal Kvisle, Talisman
shares have dropped 18 percent against a 3.7 percent drop in the
Toronto Stock Exchange's energy index. 
    Thomson also said Talisman may also look for a partner for
its Duvernay shale holdings in Alberta. Though the field remains
lightly explored, PetroChina last month agreed to
pay C$2.2 billion ($2.23 billion) for a 49.9 percent stake in
Encana Corp's Duvernay holdings.
    "Our Duvernay position is actually similar to Encana's" he
said. "... There's opportunities as we go through 2013 to think
about partnering or monetization opportunities there."
    Talisman shares were up 8 Canadian cents to C$11.70 by early
afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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