May 2, 2013 / 7:06 PM / 5 years ago

Murphy Oil says Syncrude, Montney assets are not for sale

* Company had hired investment bank to mull options for assets

CALGARY, Alberta, May 2 (Reuters) - Murphy Oil Corp has changed it mind and will not sell its 5 percent stake in Alberta’s Syncrude oil sands project and its shale-gas properties in Western Canada, the company said on Thursday.

Murphy said in October it had hired investment bankers to explore options for its stake in Syncrude, one of Canada’s largest oil sands plants with the capacity to produce 350,000 barrels of synthetic crude oil per day, and for its Tupper property in the Montney shale region in northeastern British Columbia.

However, the El Dorado, Arkansas-based company has reconsidered and has no plans to put the assets up for sale.

“Those are two really, really great assets. (If) we didn’t have them, certainly we would be out trying to buy them,” a company executive said in the transcript of a conference call with analysts to discuss Murphy’s first-quarter results. “If we were to receive a compelling offer, and I think I’d know what a compelling offer was if we saw it, and barring that and some of the strategic need for the proceeds ... we really don’t see it, a (sale) process, being started.” The transcript did not identify the executive.

Shares of Murphy, which is spinning off its U.S. retail gasoline business, were down 40 cents to $60.40 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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