The Board also has authorized the repurchase of an additional 30 million shares of the Company’s common stock. The share repurchase authorization remaining at the end of 2013 was 7 million shares. The program does not require purchases to be made within a particular timeframe. Share repurchases will continue to be funded from available cash from operations, excess cash on hand and proceeds from asset sales as part of the previously announced strategic review. Occidental expects to announce additional increases to its share repurchase authorization as the strategic review progresses.
Sale of Hugoton Field Assets as Part of Company’s Strategic Review
On February 13, 2014, Occidental announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell its Hugoton Field assets to an undisclosed buyer for pre-tax proceeds of $1.4 billion. This sale was approved by the Board of Directors as part of Occidental’s strategic review to streamline and focus operations where it has depth and scale in order to better execute the Company’s long-term strategy and enhance value for shareholders.
The Hugoton Field properties comprise interests in more than 1.4 million net acres in one of the largest natural gas fields in the United States, spanning southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle and eastern Colorado. Occidental’s average net production from the Hugoton Field properties in 2013 was approximately 110 million cubic feet equivalent per day, of which approximately 30 percent was oil.
Occidental anticipates the transaction will be completed by April 30, 2014, subject to regulatory approval and transaction adjustments. The Company expects to report a gain on the sale. Proceeds from this transaction will be used to partially fund the announced increase to the Company’s share repurchase program.
Separation of California Business
On February 14, 2014, Occidental announced the next phase of its strategic review. The Board of Directors has authorized the separation of Occidental’s California assets into an independent and separately traded company.
The new California company will have 8,000 employees and contractors and will establish its headquarters in the state. It will be California’s largest natural gas producer and the state’s largest oil and gas producer on a gross-operated barrels of oil equivalent basis. This new company will be the largest oil and gas mineral acreage holder in the state with approximately 2.3 million net acres, and will have major operations in the state’s high-potential oil and gas basins, including Los Angeles, San Joaquin, Ventura and Sacramento.
Occidental Petroleum Corporation will be headquartered in Houston, Texas. It will have exploration and production operations in the Permian Basin and other parts of Texas, the Middle East region and Colombia. It will also have a midstream and marketing segment and a chemical subsidiary, OxyChem. Each of these segments is a leader in its respective sector. Consistent with Occidental’s strategic review to focus in core businesses, it also plans to reduce its exposure to proprietary trading activities related to crude oil and other commodities.
The Board also announced that Mr. Chazen has been asked to remain as President and CEO to lead the successful completion of the strategic review and ensure a suitable management team is in place for Occidental. He has agreed to do so through the 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The