Royal Dutch Shell is trying to offload its C$4.1-billion tar sands/oil sands stake in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Reuters revealed last week, in an exclusive report picked up by the Globe and Mail.
“The energy company has been interviewing investment banks to hire a financial adviser for the share sale,” the news agency reported, citing four unnamed sources. “Shell plans to use the proceeds to help pay down the debt it assumed with the acquisition of British rival BG Group, the people said. The company is weighing whether to sell its Canadian Natural stake in one block or phase it out” more gradually.
If the whole sale took place it once, it would be one of Canada’s biggest-ever equity deals. That record currently belongs to TransCanada Corporation for a transaction last year.
While the BG purchase has driven a number of Shell moves, with another $10 billion in divestments still expected in the next year or so, the focus on the CNRL assets “was also seen as part of a drive to pull out of some of the most energy-intensive operations as the world switches to cleaner fossil fuel,” Reuters noted. “While Shell wants to sell the stake as soon as it is able to, no decision has been made about the timing of the sale.”