Source AP ©

Plains Exploration & Production Co. sells oil and gas properties

A subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum and XTO Energy Inc. would buy Plains Exploration & Production Co.’s certain oil and gas properties for 1.75 billion dollars.

The sale is expected to be close before the end of the first quarter of 2008, Plains said.

PXP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Flores said “The oil and gas property divestments balance PXP's asset portfolio and align operator strengths to specific assets maximizing efficiencies and returns. We are pleased with the values being realized today through these transactions with Oxy and XTO which are significantly higher than our properties are currently valued in our stock price allowing us to use the proceeds to buy back PXP common shares and reduce debt. The 2008 capital plan supports PXP's diversified growth strategy by funding drilling programs in each of our key asset areas and maintains capital discipline since we anticipate capital expenditures to be funded from internal cash flow.”

Plains Exploration also approved a $1 billion share repurchase – the plan will replace an existing buyback with $158 million remaining.

Sources: agencies