Nexen selling heavy oil properties

CALGARY — Nexen Inc. is putting heavy oil producing properties in Western Canada up for sale as it focuses on assets more central to its business.

CALGARY — Nexen Inc. is putting heavy oil producing properties in Western Canada up for sale as it focuses on assets more central to its business.

The properties produce around 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and stretch over some 91,000 net hectares of land in Alberta and Saskatchewan, according to Scotia Waterous, which is advising Nexen (TSX:NXY) on the divestiture process.

“We are marketing our heavy oil assets because we want to streamline our strategies and focus on our three core areas,” Nexen spokeswoman Carla Yuill said Monday.

Those areas include the oilsands, where Nexen has a joint-venture with Opti Canada Inc. (TSX:OPC) at Long Lake, as well as conventional exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and elsewhere, and unconventional natural gas in northeastern British Columbia.

The timing is right to sell the heavy oil properties, since the price difference between that type of crude and the higher-quality light, sweet variety has narrowed lately, Yuill said.

Nexen shares rose 3.6 per cent to $25.05 Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.