[Editor's note: this story was updated at 4:25 p.m. CST July 10.]
Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) said July 6 it is selling its Canadian assets in three separate transactions worth about $713 million (C$927 million), marking the Houston-based company’s exit from the country.
Some of the sale proceeds are likely to funnel into the Permian Basin and Alpine High as it shifts spending to Texas.
Apache’s Canadian assets include properties throughout Western Canada in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan with average production of about 300 million cubic feet of gas equivalent per day for second-quarter 2017, of which roughly two-thirds is natural gas.
Still, Tom Driscoll, managing director of Barclays Research, said Apache’s sale came in $215 million, or $0.55 per share, less than the $928 million Barclays estimated for the assets in late June.
“While we are disappointed with the sale price, we believe the sale makes strategic sense for Apache,” Driscoll said.
However, investors are saying that Apache could be worth double its current stock price of $45 per share, with a number of fund managers increasing their stakes in the company, Reuters said citing a Barron’s report from July 9.
Apache’s announcement also follows months of similar divestitures—including sizeable oil sands sales—by companies looking to trade in Canadian assets to pay down debt from previous purchases or boost its capex in more desirable basins, particularly the Permian.
In March, Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) said it reached an agreement to sell its Canadian subsidiary for $2.5 billion. Additionally, ConocoPhillips Co. (NYSE: COP) sold assets and interests in Canada for $13.3 billion comprised of cash and equity in a deal that closed in May.
Proceeds from Apache’s divestitures will be used to pay down debt and fund a portion of Apache’s 2017 and 2018 capex. In addition, the company’s budgeted $125 million capex for its Canadian assets in 2017 and 2018 will be redirected to other areas of the portfolio, according to the company’s press release.
“Today’s announcement is consistent with Apache’s objective of streamlining our portfolio and focusing on assets in the United States, United Kingdom North Sea and Egypt,” John J. Christmann IV, Apache’s CEO and president, said in a statement July 6. “This strategic decision will enhance the company’s resource allocation to its primary growth areas, particularly within the Permian Basin.”
Apache may redirect proceeds to the Permian as well as its Alpine High assets, Capital One Securities said.
For 2017, Apache expects to exceed anticipated operating cash flow after its capex shot up 64% from last year to $3.1 billion. Nearly two-thirds, or roughly $2 billion, of the company's capex will be directed to the Permian.
In its exit from Canada, Apache is selling its Apache Canada Ltd. subsidiary, which holds properties in Alberta and British Columbia, to Paramount Resources Ltd. In a separate transaction signed in June, Apache said it also agreed to sell its Provost assets in Alberta to an undisclosed privately owned company.
Also in June, Apache had been confirmed as the seller of Midale and House Mountain assets located in Saskatchewan and Alberta to Cardinal Energy Ltd. for C$330 million in cash. At the time, an Apache spokesperson told Hart Energy that the sale to Cardinal was in line with Apache’s efforts to further streamline its portfolio and focus on high-growth areas of opportunity, particularly in the Permian Basin.
Upon completion of its Canadian exit, Apache will realize a significant reduction in asset retirement obligations and annual overhead costs. Total company revenues per barrel of oil equivalent (boe), cash margins per boe and earnings per share will also improve with the completion of these transactions.
The Cardinal transaction closed in late June, and Apache said it expects the remaining two to close by the end of August. Apache plans to update its 2017 and 2018 guidance following the completion of the three transactions.
Emily Patsy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.