Qatar Said to Leave Group Seeking Occidental Mideast Stake
Qatar’s national oil company has dropped out of a group of state-backed investors seeking to buy a stake in Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY)’s Middle East business amid a political dispute in the region, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Still interested in a joint-bid for the stake are Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. and Oman Oil, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public. Qatar Petroleum is weighing buying some or all of the stake on its own, and is seeking a financial adviser to help it do so, the people said.
Occidental is considering breaking up the assets and selling them to individual countries, Chief Executive Officer Stephen Chazen said last week. The split also creates the possibility of a contest for the 40 percent stake, which is expected to fetch as much as $8 billion, one of the people said. Shares of Occidental rose as much as one percent, and were up 0.7 percent at $95.58 as of 1 p.m. in New York today.
“The notion that they were going to somehow cooperate with each other in an oil investment is difficult at best right now,” Chazen said at the Howard Weil Energy Conference in New Orleans. “At their suggestions, we’ll probably make separate deals with the three countries with somewhat different assets in each one. In some ways, that’s a lot simpler.”
The political rift is over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which runs counter to a regional crackdown on the Islamist organization after it gained power in Egypt with the 2012 election of President Mohamed Mursi.