Occidental Petroleum extends bid deadline for Wyoming, Colorado land

(Reuters) - Troubled Occidental Petroleum Corp has given the state of Wyoming until July 8 to bid on the land and minerals it is selling in Wyoming and Colorado, the Wyoming governor’s office said.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Occidental Petroleum is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The company has been struggling with debt taken on in last year’s $38 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum, an ill-timed bet on rising shale oil prices ahead of a market crash.

Wyoming’s State Loan and Investment Board will hold a public hearing before deciding if it will bid on the properties, a spokesman for Governor Mark Gordon said on Tuesday.

Occidental’s initial deadline to submit bids was Wednesday. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Occidental acquired the land and minerals with its 2019 purchase of Anadarko. It is the largest private landowner in Wyoming, where it is focused mainly on development in the Powder River Basin.

The sale includes about 1 million acres of land and 4 million acres in mineral rights once owned by the federal government, sold to Union Pacific Railroad and later acquired by Anadarko.

Occidental hoped at one point to fetch as much as $700 million in the sale, according to people familiar with the offering.

Occidental received 13 bids in the first round of its sales process, Chief Executive Vicki Hollub told analysts during a May 6 earnings call, adding the company expected to be able to close on that asset late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter.

A sale would help reduce the debt load of about $40 billion that Occidental took on with the Anadarko purchase.

The state would tap the $7 billion Wyoming Permanent Mineral Trust Fund if is the buyer, the Wyoming governor has said.

Reporting by Jennifer Hiller in Houston; Editing by Sandra Maler and Cynthia Osterman