ConocoPhillips said Tuesday that it will sell some of its properties in Montana and North Dakota to Plano, Texas–based oil and gas company Denbury Resources for $1.05 billion.
ConocoPhillips, based in Houston, split itself into two publicly traded companies in 2011, spinning off its refining business to shareholders. Since then, the energy company has pared down its holdings by a total of $12 billion by selling assets—including Tuesday’s property sale—since the beginning of 2012. Last month, the company sold its Nigerian oil unit to Oando Energy Resources Inc. for $1.79 billion.
ConocoPhillips said it plans to use the money from its asset sales for “general corporate purposes.”
The property changing hands is comprised of 86,000 net acres in southwestern North Dakota and eastern Montana. ConocoPhillips said in its announcement of the deal that the land produces roughly 13,000 barrels of oil each day. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.
The properties do not include ConocoPhillips’s assets in the oil-rich Bakken Formation, a popular destination for energy companies buying oil-producing land in recent years, and an area where the company owns more than 600,000 acres of land. Denbury sold its own Bakken holdings to Exxon Mobil Corp. in September in a deal worth $1.3 billion. The company said in its own announcement of Tuesday’s deal that it would use proceeds from the Exxon deal to pay for the ConocoPhillips assets.
Vinson & Elkins is advising Denbury on the purchase‚ a role the firm also had in the company’s September deal with Exxon. Vinson M&A partner Marc Rose and M&A associate Thomas Laughlin are leading the firm’s team on Tuesday’s deal. Other Vinson attorneys on the deal include finance partner William “Billy” Young, energy transactions partner Fielding “Tres” Cochran III, tax partner Todd Way, environmental partner Christopher Amandes, and employment partner Vanessa Griffith. Associates Robert Derivaux, Russell Oshman, and Julia Pashin are also working on the deal.
As The Am Law Daily has previously reported, Denbury’s general counsel is James Matthews‚ a former Vinson partner who left the firm last year to join his current employer.
ConocoPhillips relied on in-house attorneys for its side of the transaction, with senior counsel Ronald Schultz leading the in-house team, according to a source close to the transaction. A ConocoPhillips spokesman declined to comment on the company’s legal counsel. Janet Langford Kelly, general counsel for ConocoPhillips, is a former associate at both Sidley Austin and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
Wachtell is among the firms ConocoPhillips has turned to for transaction work in recent years, with the firm advising on the 2011 spin-off of the company’s refining business. Later that year, ConocoPhillips brought in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to advise on the sale of two U.S. oil pipeline operators. One operator was sold to Engridge Holdings and the other went to Montreal-based Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec‚ for a total of $2 billion.
Last February, the company also relied on internal counsel to handle the $1.29 billion sale of its Vietnamese assets to British and French oil company Perenco.