Royal Dutch Shell to sell its stake in Canadian Natural Resources

TORONTO — Royal Dutch Shell is selling its stake in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. for about $4.3 billion.

The sale of more than 97 million shares represents Shell’s entire interest in Canadian Natural, a roughly eight per cent stake in the company.

Shell said in a statement Monday night that proceeds from the sale will contribute to reducing net debt.

The sale, which is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs, RBC Capital Markets, Scotiabank and TD Securities, is expected to complete on Wednesday.

The energy sector on the Toronto Stock Exchange has gained strength in recent weeks as the price of oil has also climbed.

Canadian Natural shares were down $1.45 at $43.85 in late-morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Shell acquired the shares last year when it sold most of its Alberta oilsands assets to Canadian Natural for $11.1 billion in cash and stock.

The company said at the time that the deal would allow the company to focus on assets such as deepwater oil and gas that offer higher returns on capital. It said that oilsands mining and in-situ operations were no longer a strategic fit for Shell.

In Canada, the company remains focused on its shale oil and gas properties in B.C. and Alberta, along with its refining and chemical businesses near Edmonton.

Other foreign companies that have reduced exposure to the oilsands include Norway’s Statoil, Arkansas-based Murphy Oil and France-based Total SA.

Cenovus Energy bought most of the Canadian assets of Houston-based ConocoPhillips last year.

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