CALGARY — American oil giant Devon Energy Corp. is the latest international producer to put its oilsands assets up for sale, but analysts think Canadian producers will be cautious about spending billions to buy the properties.
Oklahoma City-based Devon announced Tuesday that “the timing is now appropriate” to divest from its Canadian assets including the 100,000-barrels-per-day Jackfish thermal oilsands plant and other heavy oil properties, which account for 24 per cent of the company’s total production.
If it is able to find a buyer for the assets, Devon will join a long list of foreign firms that have reduced their exposure to Canadian heavy oil, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ConocoPhillips Co., Murphy Oil Corp., Marathon Oil Corp., Statoil SA and Total SA.
Over the past few years, oil majors have sold oilsands assets worth at least $33.6 billion, primarily to domestic producers, exiting mostly due to pipeline capacity issues and better investment opportunities elsewhere in the world, especially in the U.S. shale basins.
“There have been multiple transactions in Canada in the (steam-based oilsands) space of the last couple of years,” Devon executive vice-president and chief financial officer Jeff Ritenour said on an earnings call, but declined to comment on the company’s asking price for the assets.