Occidental Plans Sale of Middle East Oil Stake

Reuters

Oct 18 (Reuters) - Occidental Petroleum Corp said on Friday it plans to sell a minority stake in its Middle East and North African operations, part of a restructuring meant to lift its valuation.

The company also said it was considering strategic alternatives for some oil and gas assets in the U.S. Rocky Mountain region, which have lower returns. It did not specify what options.

Occidental has spoken openly since April about striking a deal to reduce its exposure to the politically volatile Middle East and North Africa, part of a broader plan to split up the fourth-largest U.S oil company.

"Our goal is to become a somewhat smaller company with more manageable exposure to political risk," Chief Executive Stephen Chazen said in a statement.

Shares of Occidental fell 1.4 percent after the announcement as some investors hoped for more details about the restructuring.

Wells Fargo analysts noted there was no information about what the company plans to do with its California assets or whether the it intends to divest oil fields in Latin America.

Analysts briefed by the company have said Occidental's California unit, which analysts at Credit Suisse value around $22 billion, may eventually be spun off to investors.


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