Nexen Inc.
TSX : NXY
NYSE : NXY

Nexen Inc.

December 17, 2008 07:01 ET

Nexen Acquires Additional Interest in Long Lake

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 17, 2008) - Nexen Inc. announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire an additional 15% interest in the Long Lake project and the joint venture lands from OPTI Canada Ltd., effective December 31, 2008. We will also become operator of the upgrader. Upon closing, we will have a 65% interest in the Long Lake project and the joint venture lands, and will be the sole operator of the resource and upgrader. We now expect our 2009 production guidance to increase by approximately 5,000 boe/d to average between 255,000 and 270,000 boe/d before royalties (225,000 to 240,000 boe/d net of royalties).

The total purchase price of the transaction is $735,000,000 and is expected to close in late January 2009, subject to normal approvals.

"We are excited by this opportunity to increase our ownership interest in this world-class resource," said Charlie Fischer, Nexen's President and CEO. "These are assets we know and understand and this is an excellent strategic fit that strengthens our position as one of the premier players in the oil sands."

As an existing co-venturer, we are confident that the transition in operatorship will be a smooth one. Our objective is to facilitate a seamless transition with continued focus on the ramp up of production and preserve the knowledge base that has been developed. The acquisition will also create operational efficiencies and reduce the cost of managing Long Lake.

"Long Lake has a skilled and committed operating and project team that will continue to provide a solid foundation for the safe and successful operation of Long Lake," said Marvin Romanow, Nexen's Executive Vice President and CFO, and incoming President and CEO.

We expect to generate significant free cash flow this year, some of which has been used for share buybacks and have approximately $4 billion of cash and undrawn committed credit facilities. We are well positioned to fund this acquisition and will continue to have substantial liquidity that provides us with the financial strength and flexibility to invest in high quality projects that generate value over the long term.

"This acquisition has attractive metrics and increases our total proved reserves by approximately 8%," said Romanow. "We expect these assets will generate considerable shareholder value for many years to come."

Nexen Inc. is an independent, Canadian-based global energy company, listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol NXY. We are uniquely positioned for growth in the North Sea, Western Canada (including the Athabasca oil sands of Alberta and unconventional gas resource plays such as coalbed methane and shale gas), deep-water Gulf of Mexico, offshore West Africa and the Middle East. We add value for shareholders through successful full-cycle oil and gas exploration and development and leadership in ethics, integrity, governance and environmental protection.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this report constitute "forward-looking statements" (within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended) or "forward-looking information" (within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation). Such statements or information ("forward-looking statements") are generally identifiable by the terminology used such as "anticipate", "believe", "intend", "plan", "expect", "estimate", "budget", "outlook", "forecast" or other similar words and include statements relating to or associated with individual wells, regions or projects. Any statements as to possible future crude oil, natural gas or chemicals prices, future production levels, future cost recovery oil revenues from our Yemen operations, future capital expenditures and their allocation to exploration and development activities, future earnings, future asset dispositions, future sources of funding for our capital program, future debt levels, availability of committed credit facilities, possible commerciality, development plans or capacity expansions, future ability to execute dispositions of assets or businesses, future cash flows and their uses, future drilling of new wells, ultimate recoverability of current and long-term assets, ultimate recoverability of reserves or resources, expected finding and development costs, expected operating performance, including expected reliability of operations and expected operating costs, future demand for chemicals products, estimates on a per share basis, sales, future expenditures and future allowances relating to environmental matters and dates by which certain areas will be developed or will come on stream, and changes in any of the foregoing are forward-looking statements. Statements relating to "reserves" or "resources" are forward-looking statements, as they involve the implied assessment, based on estimates and assumptions that the reserves and resources described exist in the quantities predicted or estimated, and can be profitably produced in the future.

The forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results, levels of activity and achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Such factors include, among others: market prices for oil and gas and chemicals products; our ability to explore, develop, produce, upgrade and transport crude oil and natural gas to markets; the results of exploration and development drilling and related activities; the risks inherent in operating in harsh climates; the risks inherent in operating significant facilities which process hazardous and potentially explosive materials under high temperature and pressure; volatility in energy trading markets; foreign-currency exchange rates; economic conditions in the countries and regions in which we carry on business including the increasing costs of materials and labour and the ability of suppliers to meet delivery schedules and cost estimates; governmental actions including changes to taxes or royalties, changes in environmental and other laws and regulations; renegotiations of contracts; results of litigation, arbitration or regulatory proceedings; and political uncertainty, including actions by terrorists, insurgent or other groups, or other armed conflict, including conflict between states. The impact of any one risk, uncertainty or factor on a particular forward-looking statement is not determinable with certainty as these factors are interdependent, and management's future course of action would depend on our assessment of all information at that time.

Although we believe that the expectations conveyed by the forward-looking statements are reasonable based on information available to us on the date such forward-looking statements were made, no assurances can be given as to future results, levels of activity and achievements. Undue reliance should not be placed on the statements contained herein, which are made as of the date hereof and, except as required by law, Nexen undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The forward-looking statements contained herein are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. Readers should also refer to Items 1A and 7A in our 2007 Annual Report on Form 10-K for further discussion of the risk factors.

Cautionary Note to US Investors

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) permits oil and gas companies, in their filings with the SEC, to discuss only proved reserves that are supported by actual production or conclusive formation tests to be economically and legally producible under existing economic and operating conditions. In this disclosure, we may refer to "recoverable reserves", "probable reserves", "recoverable resources" and "recoverable contingent resources" which are inherently more uncertain than proved reserves. These terms are not used in our filings with the SEC. Our reserves and related performance measures represent our working interest before royalties, unless otherwise indicated. Please refer to our Annual Report on Form 10-K available from us or the SEC for further reserve disclosure.

In addition, under SEC regulations, the Syncrude oil sands operations are considered mining activities rather than oil and gas activities. Production, reserves and related measures in this release include results from the Company's share of Syncrude. Under SEC regulations, we are required to recognize bitumen reserves rather than the upgraded premium synthetic crude oil we will produce and sell from Long Lake.

Cautionary Note to Canadian Investors

Nexen is required to disclose oil and gas activities under National Instrument 51-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities (NI 51-101). However, the Canadian securities regulatory authorities (CSA) have granted us exemptions from certain provisions of NI 51-101 to permit US style disclosure. These exemptions were sought because we are a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registrant and our securities regulatory disclosures, including Form 10-K and other related forms, must comply with SEC requirements. Our disclosures may differ from those of Canadian companies who have not received similar exemptions under NI 51-101.

Please read the "Special Note to Canadian Investors" in Item 7A in our 2007 Annual Report on Form 10-K, for a summary of the exemption granted by the CSA and the major differences between SEC requirements and NI 51-101. The summary is not intended to be all-inclusive or to convey specific advice. Reserve estimation is highly technical and requires professional collaboration and judgment.

Because reserves data are based on judgments regarding future events, actual results will vary and the variations may be material. Variations as a result of future events are expected to be consistent with the fact that reserves are categorized according to the probability of their recovery.

Please note that the differences between SEC requirements and NI 51-101 may be material.

Our probable reserves disclosure applies the Society of Petroleum Engineers/World Petroleum Council (SPE/WPC) definition for probable reserves. The Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook states there should not be a significant difference in estimated probable reserve quantities using the SPE/WPC definition versus NI 51-101.

In this disclosure, we refer to oil and gas in common units called barrel of oil equivalent (boe). A boe is derived by converting six thousand cubic feet of gas to one barrel of oil (6mcf:1bbl). This conversion may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation, since the 6mcf:1bbl ratio is based on an energy equivalency at the burner tip and does not represent the value equivalency at the well head.

Resources

Nexen's estimates of contingent resources are based on definitions set out in the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook which generally describe contingent resources as those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from known accumulations using established technology or technology under development, but which are not currently considered to be commercially recoverable due to one or more contingencies. Such contingencies may include, but are not limited to, factors such as economic, legal, environmental, political and regulatory matters or a lack of markets. Specific contingencies precluding these contingent resources being classified as reserves include but are not limited to: future drilling program results, drilling and completions optimization, stakeholder and regulatory approval of future drilling and infrastructure plans, access to required infrastructure, economic fiscal terms, a lower level of delineation, the absence of regulatory approvals, detailed design estimates and near-term development plans, and general uncertainties associated with this early stage of evaluation. The estimated range of contingent resources reflects conservative and optimistic likelihoods of recovery. However, there is no certainty that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of these contingent resources.

Nexen's estimates of discovered resources (equivalent to discovered petroleum initially-in-place) are based on definitions set out in the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook which generally describe discovered resources as those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be contained in known accumulations prior to production. Discovered resources do not represent recoverable volumes. We disclose additional information regarding resource estimates in accordance with NI 51-101. These disclosures can be found on our website and on SEDAR.

Cautionary statement: In the case of discovered resources or a subcategory of discovered resources other than reserves, there is no certainty that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the resources. In the case of undiscovered resources or a subcategory of undiscovered resources, there is no certainty that any portion of the resources will be discovered. If discovered, there is no certainty that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the resources.

Contact Information

  • Michael J. Harris, CA
    Vice President, Investor Relations
    (403) 699-4688
    or
    Lavonne Zdunich, CA
    Analyst, Investor Relations
    (403) 699-5821
    or
    Tim Chatten, P.Eng
    Analyst, Investor Relations
    (403) 699-4244
    or
    Nexen Inc.
    801 - 7th Ave SW
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3P7
    Website: www.nexeninc.com