Apache in talks to sell Argentinean assets to YPF SA

US-based independent oil and gas company Apache Corp is in talks to sell some of its Argentinean assets to Argentina's state-controlled oil company YPF SA, Reuters reported over the weekend, citing unnamed sources.

The move from the Texas-based company comes after it announced in May that it would sell assets worth $4 billion by end 2013 in order to reduce debt and fund its 30-million-share buyback program. (See: Apache Corp plans to sell assets worth $4 bn)

Apache, which has been in Argentina since 2001, has operations in the provinces of Neuquén, Rio Negro, Tierra del Fuego and Mendoza.

It has stakes in 33 concessions, exploration permits, and other interests totalling 3.7 million gross acres in three of the main Argentine hydrocarbon basins: Neuquén, Austral and Cuyo.

The concessions have varying expiration dates ranging from three years to over 15 years remaining, subject to potential extensions.

Apache holds 1.2 million net acres in the giant Vaca Muerta shale, of which approximately 950,000 net acres are in the oil and wet gas window of the play.

Its third-quarter production in Argentina was 42,266 barrels of oil equivalent (Boe) per day, while total natural gas sales averaged 82 million cubic feet per day.

With market capitalisation of $31.7 billion and 2012 revenues of $16.8 billion, Apache has in recent years acquired hydrocarbon assets worth $16 billion from oil majors including BP's assets in the US, Canada and Egypt, and Devon Energy and Mariner Energy's assets in the Gulf of Mexico.

Apache also has operations in the US, Canada, Egypt, the UK North Sea, Australia and Argentina.

In July, Apache agreed to sell its Gulf of Mexico Shelf operations and properties to Fieldwood Energy, for f $3.75 billion and a month later agreed to sell its 33-per cent stake in its Egypt upstream oil and gas business to Chinese oil giant Sinopec Group forv$3.1 billion.

The company has sold over $7 billion in assets this year, and repaid $1.85 billion debt, bringing its total debt down to $10.93 billion from $12.78 billion from the prior quarter.