By Scott Haggett
CALGARY, Alberta Dec 10 Canadian oil producer
Talisman Energy Inc said on Tuesday it has agreed to
sell its stake in the 590,000-barrel-per-day Ocensa oil pipeline
in Colombia to an investment group led by Advent International
for about $595 million as the company focuses operations while
paring its debt.
Talisman, which faces pressure from shareholders to boost
profits and trim its widespread global operations, said the
offloading of its stake in the Colombian pipeline brings the
total proceeds from its asset sales program to $2.2 billion.
The company in March said it would look to raise between $2
billion and $3 billion in asset sales over the next 18 months as
it refocuses on producing oil and gas in the Americas and
Southeast Asia. It is still looking for buyers for its assets in
Norway's North Sea and is mulling the sale of part of its Iraqi
Low natural gas prices, aging and unreliable infrastructure
at its North Sea operations and a presence in too many countries
had hampered Talisman prior to a restructuring led by Chief
Executive Hal Kvisle, a board member who replaced John Manzoni
just over a year ago.
With Kvisle - who previously restructured pipeline company
TransCanada Corp - focusing operations on fewer
geographical areas and selling assets, Talisman shares have been
the among the best performing among Canada's largest oil
companies, rising 13 percent over the past year.
The Ocensa sale "is definitely a favorable development for
the firm and it definitely lends some credibility to (Kvisle's)
determination to turn this ship around," said Robert Bellinski,
an analyst with Morningstar. "He said they'd be doing this and
he has delivered."
Advent is also acquiring stakes in the line held by Total SA
, Ecopetrol SA and Compania Espanola de
Petroleos SAU for an undisclosed price, bringing its ownership
of Ocensa to 22 percent.
The 830-kilometer pipeline takes oil from Colombia's Llanos
Basin to the Atlantic coast. Talisman is retaining rights to
63,000 barrels per day on Ocensa.
The deal is expected to close by early 2014.
Talisman shares were last trading up 21 Canadian cents to
C$12.62 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.