BUSINESS

ConocoPhillips looking to sell half-interest in oilsands properties

01/16/2012 04:15 EST | Updated 03/17/2012 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - U.S. energy giant ConocoPhillips is looking for a partner in the oilsands, according to its financial adviser.

Scotia Waterous said Monday it has been hired to help ConocoPhillips sell up to a half-stake in a "substantial portion of its producing, developing and emerging oilsands assets."

The offering includes ConocoPhillips' Surmont, Thornbury, Clyden, Saleski, Crow Lake and McMillan Lake assets.

"This represents a premier opportunity to acquire a material position in world-class oilsands properties," Scotia Waterous said on its website.

ConocoPhillips' (NYSE:COP) share of the assets represents about 12,000 barrels of oil per day of current production, 30 billion barrels of oil in place and about 290,000 hectares of land.

The assets would have expected net peak production "well of excess" of 500,000 barrels per day.

The package does not include assets that are part of a joint venture with Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) at Foster Creek and Christina Lake.

ConocoPhillips sold its nine per cent stake in the Syncude Canada Ltd. oilsands mine to Sinopec in 2010.

This summer, ConocoPhillips announced it would split itself up into two separate companies: one focused on refining and marketing, the other on exploration and production.

Several companies have been enlisting the help of partners to develop what are often capital intensive projects in the oilsands.

Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU) and Total E&P Canada, a division of the French energy giant, have a $1.75-billion joint venture in the oilsands and Norway's Statoil has joined forces with Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production.

Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. has also invested $1.25 billion to help Penn West Exploration (TSX:PWT) develop oilsands leases in the Peace River region of Alberta.

Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. (TSX:ATH) signed a deal with PetroChina in 2009, and just last month decided to sell its stake in the MacKay River oilsands project to its partner, making it the first such development to be wholly operated by a Chinese firm.