Apache Corp to sell Australian subsidiary for $2.1 bn

Apache Corp, the second-largest US independent oil and gas producer after Anadarko Petroleum yesterday agreed to sell its Australian subsidiary Apache Energy Ltd to Macquarie Capital and Brookfield Asset Management, for $2.1 billion.

The sale comes days after Apache announced the completion of sale of its Wheatstone LNG project and related oil and natural gas properties to Woodside Petroleum Limited for $2.8 billion.

The sale of its subsidiary, which holds oil and gas assets in Western Australia, will see Apache exiting exploration and production business in Australia, but will retain its 49-per cent stake in fertilizer producer Yara Pilbara Holdings.

"Today's announcement represents a notable step in Apache's strategic portfolio repositioning.  Over the last five years, we have transitioned Apache's primary growth engine to North America onshore through the announcement or completion of approximately$17 billion of asset purchases and $17 billion of asset sales,'' said John Christmann, IV, CEO and president of Apache. 

Following the sale of its Australian assets, around 70 per cent of Apache's production will come from North America onshore, Christmann added.

Houston-based Apache had said in February that it would slash its 2015 capital expenditures by 60 per cent and drilling fleet by 70 per cent due to the fall in global crude prices.

Apache, which has made acquisitions worth more than $16 billion over the last four years, had had said in 2013 that it would sell assets worth $4 billion after conducting a strategic portfolio review to identify assets that no longer fits its growth profile.

Activist investor Jana Partners with a stake worth more than $1 billion, began to mount pressure on the company to sell its overseas assets and focus on US drilling.

In late 2013 it sold its Gulf of Mexico shelf assets for $3.75 billion to Fieldwood Energy, a company backed by private equity firm Riverstone Holdings.