Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) and Statoil ASA (STL) are considering selling their joint venture in Texas’s oil-rich Eagle Ford basin, which could fetch more than $4 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. Talisman rose.
The companies have interviewed banks to manage a sale of the 50-50 partnership, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. A sale could draw interest from large exploration companies such as Encana Corp., Murphy Oil Corp. (MUR), and Devon Energy Corp. that want to acquire more oil-producing properties, one of the people said.
Talisman and Statoil have been selling assets around the world as they seek to slim down and raise capital for more profitable drilling projects. Talisman solicited offers last year for its 50 percent interest in the Eagle Ford, and couldn’t find a buyer in part because Statoil wasn’t ready to exit, three of the people familiar with the matter said.
Simon Scott, a spokesman for Talisman, declined to comment, as did Knut Rostad, a spokesman for Statoil. A representative for Encana declined to comment, while spokesmen for Devon and Murphy didn’t return calls seeking comment.
Talisman climbed as much as 10 percent in afterhours trading to $11.13, after closing at $10.11 in New York. Statoil, based in Stavanger, Norway, dropped less than 1 percent in Oslo trading to $182.80 kroner.
Statoil took over operations of the eastern part of the joint venture in July 2013, the companies announced last year. It produces 27,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day, according to Statoil’s 2013 annual report.
Talisman agreed in December to appoint two board members backed by Carl Icahn, after the activist investor took a stake in the Calgary-based company. It hired Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) in April to sell its operations in Canada’s Central Foothills region, according to Toronto-Dominion’s website.
Reuters reported last June that Talisman had retained Royal Bank of Canada to explore a sale of its Eagle Ford operations for as much as $2 billion.
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