In commenting on the transaction, Allan Markin, Chairman noted "This disposition reflects our ongoing commitment to maintaining financial discipline. The monetization of these non-core interests allows us to capture good value for non-core assets and builds further balance sheet capacity to finance the Horizon Oil Sands Project and the continued growth of our conventional crude oil and natural gas business."
In 2004, the overriding royalty interests, which Canadian Natural acquired over the past decade through a number of acquisitions, produced approximately 3,700 boe/d, consisting of 9.3 mmcf/d of natural gas and 2,100 bbl/d of crude oil and NGLs. Over the 2003 and 2004 fiscal years, cash flow from these interests averaged approximately $50 million per year. This disposition has no impact on 2005 production guidance as it is the Company's practice to exclude such items from reported volumes.
In connection with the acquisition, Canadian Natural has agreed to purchase 3,858,520 trust units of Freehold Royalty Trust ("Freehold") for $60 million. The trust units acquired by Canadian Natural will be subject to a hold period of four months.
Scotia Capital Inc. acted as financial advisor to Canadian Natural in connection with the disposition.
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