Opinion

Statoil joins Shell and other foreign companies exiting Canadian projects


Norway's oil and gas powerhouse Statoil ASA has finalised its exit from the Canadian oilsands and is by no means alone in a list of high-profile internationally-based operators to agree a sale of Canadian upstream assets during the past 12 months.

Statoil (Oslo:STL) is selling its interest in the Kai Kos Denseh project to Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH) for an initial Cdn$578 million. Analysis of this transaction can be found here.

Other significant sales agreed upon in 2016 by non-Canadian companies include:

1) Murphy Oil Corp. (NYSE:MUR) sold a 5% stake in the Syncrude project to Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU) for $937 million in June. Murphy has been a stakeholder in the Syncrude project for 19 years. Murphy also agreed to sell heavy oil assets in Alberta's Peace River area to Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE) for Cdn$65 million in November. This sale to Baytex closed in January 2017 – Download CanOils' latest M&A review for more details.

2) Royal Dutch Shell (LSE:RDSA) sold Alberta Deep Basin and Northern B.C. Montney assets to Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TSX:TOU) for Cdn$1.4 billion in November. That same month, Shell also parted with interests in five Newfoundland and Labrador exploration licenses in a deal with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC) for an undisclosed fee.

3) Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. sold its 50% interest in its Cordova natural gas joint venture with Penn West Petroleum Ltd. (TSX:PWT) to its partner for an undisclosed fee in November.

4) Harvest Operations Corp. (owned by South Korea's KNOC) sold assets producing 1,500 boe/d in Southeast Saskatchewan to Spartan Energy Corp. (TSX:SPE) in June for Cdn$62 million. Harvest also sold assets in South Alberta to an unnamed party for Cdn$6.7 million in August.

CanOils Monthly M&A review for January 2017 is available to download here.

Despite all of these deals, 2016 was hardly a complete exodus when it came to foreign-based companies and Canadian M&A deals. For example, Calgary Sinoenergy Investment Ltd., a Chinese firm, acquired Long Run Exploration Ltd. in June for Cdn$770 million.

Since then, Sinoenergy has been one of Alberta's most active operators, according to recent Rig Locator drilling market share data for Q4 2016. Only Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) and Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) drilled more new operated wells in Q4 2016. U.S.-based Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE:DVN) also figured prominently in terms of wells drilled.


Source: JWN Rig Locator, Canadian Drilling Activity Market Analysis Q4 2016 Results. Download a sample of the report here.

Rig locator's market share data also shows that Sinoenergy's surge in new wells has greatly benefited contractor Bonanza Drilling Corp. In Q4 2016, the company nearly tripled its Western Canadian well count on Q4 2015 by drilling 85% of Sinoenergy's wells in the period. In fact, behind Precision Drilling Corporation, Bonanza was Alberta's second most active drilling contractor in Q4 2016, compared to 8th most active a year before.

Rig Locator's quarterly market share review of Western Canada is available to all Rig Locator members now. A free sample of the report can be downloaded here.

Click here for more information on a rig locator membership.


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CanadaStatoilShellmergersacquisitionsupstreamOil Sandsonshoree&pDrilling

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