Marathon Says Timing, Price of Its Angola Sale Shouldn’t Change

Marathon Oil Corp., (MRO) the fourth- largest U.S. energy company, said it doesn’t expect changes in the $1.3 billion price or closing schedule on its planned sale of a 20 percent stake in a block off the coast of Angola.

The company is working through the process of rights of first refusal that belong to Angola’s government and other partners, Lee Warren, a Marathon spokeswoman, said today in a telephone interview.

Warren declined to say whether Angola’s state oil company is exercising its right of first refusal, as reported by Reuters earlier today.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386), the largest Chinese refiner, and CNOOC Ltd. (883) in July said they agreed to buy the stake in Angola’s offshore deepwater Block 32 for $1.3 billion. Marathon was to keep a 10 percent interest in the block, and the deal was expected to close by the end of 2009. Reuters reported today that Angola has blocked the sale.

Total SA (FP) operates the block offshore Angola and holds a 30 percent interest. Angola’s state-owned Sonangol SA has 20 percent, a unit of Exxon Mobil Corp. owns 15 percent, and state- owned Petroleos de Portugal owns 5 percent, Marathon has said.

Marathon, which began an asset review in March 2008, has said its sale of assets would generate $2 billion to $4 billion on a pretax basis. The total reached so far was an estimated $3.2 billion, including the Angola transaction, according to a slide presentation Marathon gave yesterday at the Barclays Capital conference in New York. Marathon also said it’s pursuing additional sales.

Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips are the largest U.S. oil companies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Klump in Houston at eklump@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Cox at acox3@bloomberg.net.

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