Plains Exploration to Sell $1.75B of Assets; Boosts Buyback

Includes: OXY, PXP, XTO
by: Steven Towns

Plains Exploration & Production Company (NYSE:PXP) said early Monday it will sell oil and gas properties to Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) and XTO Energy (XTO) for $1.75 billion. The company also said its board of directors approved a $1B stock repurchase program to replace the existing authorization with around $158M remaining. In addition, the board approved a $1.15B capital budget for 2008. PXP's sales to Occidental total $1.55B for 50% stakes of working interests in its oil and gas properties located in West Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. The company's sales to XTO total $250M for separate properties in New Mexico and Texas. "We are pleased with the values being realized today through these transactions with Oxy and XTO which are significantly higher than our properties are currently valued in our stock price allowing us to use the proceeds to buy back PXP common shares and reduce debt," said CEO Jim Flores in a statement. Shares of PXP lost 1.7% to $54.30 on Friday, but gained back 1.6% to $55.17 on the news. OXY fell 3% and XTO lost 2.7% Monday.

Additional Reading: Oil & Gas Industry Leaders, Investment OpportunitiesXTO Energy in a Class by Itself - Barron's

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