ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) announced this morning that it is selling its 8.4% stake in a production sharing agreement in the north Caspian Sea for about $4.9 billion. The carrying value of Conoco’s share in the project is approximately $5.5 billion, and the company said it expects to take an after-tax impairment charge of about $400 million in the fourth quarter to reduce the carrying value to the fair value of the asset.
Conoco is selling its share of the project to India’s ONGC Videsh, subject to approval from the government of Kazakhstan, and expects the sale to close in the first half of 2013.
The sale is part of Conoco’s announced plan to shed $8 to $10 billion in assets by the end of next year. The company has sold $2.1 billion worth of assets to date and once this sale is completed, Conoco said the total will increase to approximately $7 billion.
The north Caspian Sea project is one of three in which Conoco had a stake. The company will hold on to its 24.5% share in the “N Block” project for now apparently, as well as its 2.5% stake in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline.
Shares opened about 0.7% lower this morning, at $56.20 in a 52-week range of $50.62 to $78.29.