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Exclusive: U.S. shale oil firm Pioneer Natural launches land sale


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. Scott Sheffield, the CEO of Pioneer Resources speaks at IHS CERAWeek 2015. The conference was held in Houston, Texas, April 21st, 2015. REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

By Arathy S Nair, David French and Shariq Khan

(Reuters) – Top U.S. shale oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:) Co has put its assets in the Delaware basin of Texas on the block, aiming to secure more than $2 billion for the properties, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. A strong rebound in prices following last year’s pandemic-led crash has sparked a wave of shale consolidation and opened a window for producers to offload unwanted properties. Pioneer hopes to streamline the business and decrease its debt following two large acquisitions. Pioneer sold an oilfield service business in March for an undisclosed sum.

Pioneer was not certain it would be able to strike a deal. A request to comment was not answered by the company immediately.

Pioneer would be able to focus on its historic base, the Permian Midlands. The assets now for sale were acquired with its $4.5 billion purchase of Parsley Energy (NYSE:), the sources said. Parsley currently has 350 wells spread across four counties within the Delaware Basin. Scott Sheffield, Pioneer chief executive, told investors last week that some of the less-productive land in Texas’ Midland Basin and Delaware would be sold. Pioneer has completed two takeovers worth multi-billion dollars this year. Pioneer purchased Midland-basin rival DoublePoint Energy in a $6.2 billion deal after closing the Parsley deal in January. According to regulatory filings, Pioneer’s debt total jumped to $6.9 Billion at June’s end, down from $3.1 Billion six months prior. U.S.-based shale companies have increased buybacks, and even dividends, as part of a wider industry effort to increase investor sentiment. Pioneer announced last month that it would begin paying variable quarterly dividends to September starting in the first quarter 2022.

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