Occidental Petroleum set to sell and spin off assets

By Marc Castro

Sep 13, 2013 11:41 PM EDT

The Occidental Petroleum Corp is seeking the sale of a minority share in its operations in the Middle East. This was confirmed by two sources familiar with the transaction last Friday. This, the sources added, is part of a larger plan to break up the company.

Occidental Petroleum Corp CEO Steve Chazen spoke openly since last April about a potential deal for assets located in North Africa and the Middle East. The said footprint would cross Libya, into Iraq and far into Yemen. Analysts have also been told that the company's California operations would be eventually spun off to separate entities.

Amongst the potential bidders for the company's assets are sovereign wealth funds and other investors for its Middle East business. The company may sell off up to 40% of the company, according to one of the sources. The value of the Middle East business is between USD15 billion and USD20 billion, which values the share sale between USD4.5 billion and USD8 billion depending on the volume of the stocks to be sold.

Occidental is the second biggest oil producer in Qatar after Qatar Petroleum. Aside from the oil shares, it has holdings in the Middle East such as a 24.5% stake in the Dolphin Gas Project in Qatar and the UAE as well as assets in Bahrain and Oman.

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