Pine Cliff Surges on ConocoPhillips Asset Purchase Speculation

  • Producer seen by National Bank as buyer of shallow gas lands
  • Shares rise as CEO Hodge markets acquisition strategy

Pine Cliff Energy Ltd. rose to the highest in two months on speculation the company is set to buy some of the western Canadian natural gas-producing properties that ConocoPhillips is selling.

Shares of the Calgary-based producer rose 5.6 percent to C$1.13 at 1:33 p.m. in Toronto, after earlier gaining 14 percent to the highest since July 30.

Pine Cliff is a logical buyer of some of the ConocoPhillips shallow gas assets and an acquisition would be significant for the company’s growth, said Dan Payne, an analyst at National Bank Financial Inc. in Calgary. ConocoPhillips is near a deal to sell about 20 percent of its Canadian production outside the oil sands to various buyers, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

“I think it was the Bloomberg article yesterday that people are keying off of,” Payne said in a phone interview. Pine Cliff Chief Executive Officer Phil Hodge is also meeting with investors to market the company this week and is emphasizing its strategy to acquire producing properties, Payne said. “It’s fair to assume that Pine Cliff would peel something out of it.”

Kristi Kunec, Pine Cliff’s chief financial officer, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

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