Last month, Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN) began its transformation from global oil and gas company to North American resource player with a $1.3 billion sale of three Gulf of Mexico stakes to Maersk Oil. Well, that deepwater deal is now scuttled, but this is very positive news for Devon.
As mentioned in my previous article, for Maersk to walk away with this prize (pegged by the company at more than 200 million net barrels), Devon's partners at Cascade, St. Malo, and Jack would all have to pass on exercising their preferential rights. Such an exercise has come to pass at the first two fields, though details are lacking. We just know that current interest owners are willing to match whatever Maersk had agreed to pay for a 50% cut in Cascade and a 25% slice of St. Malo.
Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) holds the other 50% of Cascade, so we know where to point the finger in that instance. The Brazilian company is also the operator and 66% owner of the neighboring Chinook field. These fields are being developed jointly, and will be "tied back" to (i.e., their production will flow to) a common floating production platform. It's not surprising that Petrobras would want to increase its control over Cascade, where Devon was previously operator, rather than let an unfamiliar partner take the reins.
As for St. Malo, there are several candidates. Chevron (NYSE: CVX) is the operator and largest interest owner, while Petrobras owns 25%, and each of Statoil (NYSE: STO), ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), and Eni holds a very small interest. It's anyone's guess which company stepped up to the plate here. It's also not very important.
The key takeaway here is that the deepwater Gulf of Mexico continues to captivate the world's leading international oil companies. This is great news for Devon, which is likely to fetch strong prices as it proceeds to monetize assets. It's also encouraging for shareholders of subsea servicers like Cameron (NYSE: CAM) and FMC Technologies (NYSE: FTI).
Disclosure: Author doesn't have a position in any company mentioned.