Anadarko may have Mozambique stake sale deal in coming weeks

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation CEO Al Walker. (Nick de la Torre / Houston Chronicle)

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation CEO Al Walker. (Nick de la Torre / Houston Chronicle)

By Edward Klump
Bloomberg News

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the second- largest U.S. independent oil and natural gas producer by market value, may have an agreement in the coming weeks to sell a stake in a drilling prospect off the coast of Mozambique.

The company received “very good indications of interest,” Chief Executive Officer Al Walker said in an interview in The Woodlands, Texas, today. Anadarko continues to negotiate the terms of any deal, Walker said.

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“We hope in the coming weeks to have reached agreement with one of the parties that we’re in discussions with,” he said. He declined to identify the parties.

Walker replaced Jim Hackett, the company’s former CEO, as chairman after today’s annual meeting. Hackett is set to retire from Anadarko next month. Walker said he’s happy with the company’s portfolio and may look to add some onshore and offshore acreage. Anadarko is also pursuing the sale of some interests around the world including Brazil and possibly the Gulf of Mexico.

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Anadarko and its partners including Mitsui & Co. and BPRL Ventures Mozambique B.V. discovered recoverable gas estimated to be as much as 65 trillion cubic feet off the coast of Mozambique. Anadarko has a 36.5 percent stake in Offshore Area 1 of Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin and has discussed reducing that to 26.5 percent.

Brazil, Tronox

Walker said an agreement on a sale of Brazilian assets also may be reached this year, setting up a possible exit from that country. The company has exploration interests in about 750,000 gross acres in six blocks off the coast of Brazil, Anadarko said in a filing in February.

Anadarko also looks forward to the judge in the Tronox Inc. case making a decision “hopefully in the coming weeks, months,” Walker said. Potential costs from the lawsuit may be as much as $1.4 billion, said Walker. A loss in the case isn’t probable, the company has said. The case involves environmental liability related to Tronox, a chemical company, that was spun off from Kerr-McGee Corp., which Anadarko later acquired.

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ConocoPhillips is the largest U.S. independent oil and gas producer by market value. Independent oil companies don’t own refineries or a chemical business.

Anadarko rose 2.3 percent to $88.80 at 1:05 p.m. in New York.