Anadarko Petroleum to sell Canadian unit

Anadarko Petroleum to sell Canadian unit

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., one of the nation’s leading independent energy exploration and production companies, said Thursday it agreed to sell its Canadian subsidiary for about $4.24 billion to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

The sale fulfills Anadarko’s June announcement to sell Anadarko Canada Corp., the first of several asset sales expected in connection with last month’s completion of two major acquisitions, Kerr McGee Corp. and Denver-based Western Gas Resources Inc. Anadarko bought Kerr McGee for $16.4 billion and spent $4.7 billion for Western Gas.

Anadarko’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, said selling the Canadian unit would help the company refocus its portfolio and reduce debt.

The deal is expected to close by the end of October, about two months earlier than predicted.

“It’s certainly a positive to be able to begin reducing their debt sooner, and that’s an important signal to the market,” said Tom Covington, an analyst with A.G. Edwards.

“What they are doing is trading out lower-growth Canadian properties for higher-growth properties acquired from Kerr McGee and Western Gas,” he said.

Anadarko shares fell 92 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $44.28 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The sale of the Canadian business excludes Anadarko’s interests in the Mackenzie Delta and other Canadian arctic frontier properties. Those properties remain on the sale block, the company said.

Analysts expect more sales, perhaps even before year’s end, including some high-profile Gulf of Mexico deep-water assets under development.

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