Exclusive: US shale oil company Pioneer Natural launches land sale

By Arathy S Nair, David French and Shariq Khan

(Reuters) – Major U.S. shale oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources Co has put its assets in the Delaware Basin in Texas on the block, with the aim of securing more than $ 2 billion for the properties, said Friday to Reuters two sources familiar with the matter. A sharp rebound in crude oil prices following last year’s pandemic crash triggered a wave of shale consolidation and opened a window for producers to offload unwanted properties. Pioneer wants to streamline operations and reduce debt after two big acquisitions this year. In March, she sold an oil services company for an undisclosed amount.

There was no guarantee that Pioneer would end up making a deal. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A sale would leave Pioneer to focus on the Midland part of the Permian, its traditional base. The assets currently for sale were acquired with the purchase of Parsley Energy for $ 4.5 billion, the sources said. Parsley has about 350 wells in four counties in the Delaware Basin. Pioneer chief executive Scott Sheffield told investors last week that the company would likely cede some of its less productive acreage in the Delaware and Midland basins in Texas. Pioneer made two multi-billion dollar buyouts this year. After closing its deal with Parsley in January, Pioneer paid $ 6.2 billion for Midland Basin rival DoublePoint Energy. The deals brought Pioneer’s total debt to $ 6.9 billion at the end of June, from $ 3.1 billion six months earlier, according to regulatory documents. As part of the industry’s broader goal of improving investor sentiment after years of substandard returns relative to other economic sectors, U.S. shale companies have increased buyouts and dividends. Last month, Pioneer announced that it plans to start paying a variable quarterly dividend until September, starting in the first quarter of 2022.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair and Shariq Khan in Bengaluru and David French in New York; editing by David Evans)

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