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Devon (DVN) to Sell Non-Core Assets to White Star Petroleum

Oil and gas company Devon Energy Corporation DVN has agreed to sell its non-core Mississippian assets in northern Oklahoma to White Star Petroleum, LLC for $200 million. Net proceeds from this transaction will be used to consolidate the company’s financial position. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2016, with an effective date of Jan 1, 2016.

Transformational Initiatives

The ongoing softness in commodity prices, along with stiff competition in the oil and gas industry, continues to impact Devon’s operations and financial performance. Apart from its focus on spinning off non-core assets, Devon Energy has also adopted cost-saving initiatives to support margins amid the difficult commodity price environment.

At the field level, it has effectively brought its costs under control. In 2016, Devon Energy expects to achieve cost savings of $800 million. Moreover, it has slashed its 2016 exploration & production (E&P) budget by nearly 75% from the 2015 level.

Notably, management has decided to streamline the company’s existing portfolio of assets to focus on its onshore core operations in North America. The decision to sell non-core assets is, thus, in sync with management’s strategy to further develop its core plays.

As part of the transformation process, Devon has also inked three deals that will enable it to focus on potential emerging oil plays, amid the global glut in crude prices.

On the non-core asset spin-off front, Devon remains on track with its strategy to complete divestitures worth $2–$3 billion by the year end. Moreover, the company is planning to sell its 50% interest in the Access Pipeline in Canada and is progressing on its goal of monetizing the remaining upstream assets in the U.S.

What Others Are Doing

In order to cope with the ongoing weakness in commodity prices, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation APC, one of the world’s largest independent oil and natural gas E&P companies, plans to cut its 2016 capital spending by nearly 50%. The company also plans to monetize assets worth $3 billion in 2016. Diversified energy company, Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK, has also resorted to cost saving initiatives and intends to maintain capital expenditure in the range of $1.3–$1.8 billion, down 57% from $3.6 billion spent in 2015.

Another reputed player in the oil & energy space, Apache Corp. APA has set a capital expenditure budget of $1.4–$1.8 billion for 2016, reflecting a 62% year-over-year reduction.

Devon Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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