By Michael Erman and Braden Reddall
Sept 13 Occidental Petroleum Corp is
looking to sell a minority stake in its Middle East operations,
two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, as part of
a broader plan to split up the company.
Chief Executive Steve Chazen has spoken openly since April
about a potential deal for its Middle East and North Africa
assets, which run across countries from Libya to Iraq to Yemen.
Analysts briefed by the company have said its California
operations could be spun out eventually.
Chazen has started talking to sovereign wealth funds and
other potential investors about possible investments in the
Middle East unit, the sources said. One of the sources said the
company could sell 30 percent to 40 percent of the business.
Analysts have valued the Middle East business at $15 billion
to $20 billion, meaning a stake sale could bring in $4.5 billion
to $8 billion depending on its size.
Occidental is the second-largest oil producer offshore
Qatar. Its other holdings in the Middle East include a 24.5
percent stake in the Dolphin Gas Project in Qatar and the United
Arab Emirates, and assets in Bahrain and Oman.
The sources said Occidental has reached out to some of its
current partners in the Middle East in its search for buyers.
Its partners there include Mubadala and the Abu Dhabi National
The departure in May of former Chief Executive Ray Irani
gave way to a more aggressive push to find investors for the
Middle East businesses, which had long been more favored by
Bloomberg previously reported that Occidental was talking to
potential investors for a sale of a 40 percent stake in the
unit. A spokeswoman for Occidental did not respond to a request
Shares of the Los Angeles-based company fell 1.7 percent to
$89.49 on Friday. The stock is up about $10 per share since the
company began discussing a potential break-up in April.