Nexen Inc.
TSX : NXY
NYSE : NXY

Nexen Inc.

November 29, 2011 05:00 ET

Nexen Announces Sale and Joint Venture Partnership for Northeast British Columbia Shale Gas Assets

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2011) - Nexen Inc. (TSX, NYSE: NXY) today announced that it has reached agreement to create a strategic partnership with a consortium led by INPEX CORPORATION of Japan regarding the development of our shale gas lands in the Horn River, Cordova and Liard basins in northeast BC. Nexen will sell a 40% working interest in its northeast BC assets and will remain the operator.

"This joint venture represents a significant milestone in the advancement of our shale gas strategy and the premium over our invested cost shows the value we have created in a short time," said Marvin Romanow, Nexen's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The transaction provides us with world-class partners that have significant upstream and LNG expertise. It also recognizes the outstanding team we have put in place and the execution excellence they have consistently demonstrated."

Transaction Creates Significant Value for Nexen

The total consideration for the sale of the 40% interest is $700 million, with 50% upfront and a 50% capital carry. Closing is expected in the first quarter of 2012, at which time approximately $600 million would be due to Nexen.

Following the closing of the transaction, Nexen will hold a 60% interest in the joint venture lands, and the remaining 40% will be owned through INPEX Gas British Columbia Ltd., which is jointly established by INPEX (82%) and JGC Corporation (18%).

Following the closing of the joint venture agreement, the partnership intends to proceed with the appraisal and development of the resource, depending on economic conditions. The 18-well pad we are currently drilling is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012, increasing gross production volumes to peak rates of approximately 155 mmcf/d in early 2013. The parties will also jointly investigate the feasibility of a potential downstream project including LNG exports.

Our development plan will allow us to unlock the value of our significant shale gas resource in northeast British Columbia. On a gross basis, the joint venture lands are estimated to contain 4-15 tcf of recoverable contingent resource in the Horn River and Cordova basins and a further 5-23 tcf of prospective resource in the Liard basin.

Complementary Strengths Highlight Long-Term Partnership

INPEX currently conducts 71 oil and gas projects in 26 countries, making them Japan's largest oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) company. They are engaged in exploration, development and production activities around the globe with production of over 400,000 boe/d and have the largest oil and gas reserves and production volume of any Japanese E&P company.

INPEX brings significant LNG expertise and market access to the partnership. They own interests in large LNG projects including resource in both Indonesia and Australia and are building a regasification terminal in Japan. INPEX holds a 76% working interest in the Ichthys LNG project offshore Australia and is the operator. The project is expected to deliver LNG production volumes of 8.4 million tonnes per year. INPEX holds a 60% working interest in the Abadi LNG project offshore eastern Indonesia and is the operator (in July 2011, INPEX signed an agreement with Shell for transfer of a 30% participating interest. This transaction is subject to certain conditions). The project is expected to deliver LNG production volumes of 2.5 million tonnes per year. The production volume from these two projects is equivalent to 15% or more of Japan's current LNG annual import volumes.

JGC Corporation is one of the world's top engineering contractors, with extensive project management capabilities in the fields of petroleum refining and gas processing, LNG and petrochemicals.

Agreement Subject to Additional Regulatory and Financing Approvals

The agreement has been approved by the Board of Directors of Nexen, INPEX and JGC Corporation. Canadian regulatory approval is required and INPEX requires financing approval in order to complete the deal.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is acting as financial advisor to Nexen on this transaction.

About Nexen

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 focused on three growth strategies: oil sands and shale gas in Western Canada and conventional exploration and development primarily in the North Sea, offshore West Africa and deepwater Gulf of Mexico. We add value for shareholders through successful full-cycle oil and gas exploration and development, and leadership in ethics, integrity, governance and environmental stewardship.

For more information on our estimates of contingent and prospective shale gas resources, please refer to our press release dated November 15, 2010.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this release constitute "forward-looking statements" (within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended) or "forward-looking information" (within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation). Such statements or information (together "forward-looking statements") are generally identifiable by the forward-looking 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 royalties and tax levels; future capital expenditures, their timing and their allocation to exploration and development activities; future earnings; future asset acquisitions or dispositions; future sources of funding for our capital program; future debt levels; availability of committed credit facilities; possible commerciality of our projects; development plans or capacity expansions; the expectation that we have the ability to substantially grow production at our oil sands facilities through controlled expansions; the expectation of achieving the production design rates from our oil sands facilities; the expectation that our oil sands production facilities continue to develop better and more sustainable practices; the expectation of cheaper and more technologically advanced operations; the expected design size of our operations; the expected timing and associated production impact of facilities turnarounds and maintenance; the expectation that we can continue to operate our offshore exploration, development and production facilities safely and profitably; future ability to execute dispositions of assets or businesses; future sources of liquidity, 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 costs, future cost recovery oil revenues from our Yemen operations; the expectation of negotiating of an extension to certain of our production sharing agreements; the expectation of our ability to comply with the new safety and environmental rules enacted in the US at a minimal incremental cost, and of receiving necessary drilling permits for our US offshore operations; future demand for chemicals products; estimates on a per share basis; future foreign currency exchange rates, future expenditures and future allowances relating to environmental matters and our ability to comply therewith; dates by which certain areas will be developed, come on stream or reach expected operating capacity; 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.

All of the forward-looking statements in this release are qualified by the assumptions that are stated or inherent in such forward-looking statements. Although we believe that these assumptions are reasonable, this list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of the forward-looking statements and the reader should not place an undue reliance on these assumptions and such forward-looking statements. The key assumptions that have been made in connection with the forward-looking statements include the following: that we will conduct our operations and achieve results of operations as anticipated; that our development plans will achieve the expected results; the general continuance of current or, where applicable, assumed industry conditions; the continuation of assumed tax, royalty and regulatory regimes; the accuracy of the estimates of our reserve volumes; commodity price and cost assumptions; the continued availability of adequate cash flow and debt and/or equity financing to fund our capital and operating requirements as needed; and the extent of our liabilities. We believe the material factors, expectations and assumptions reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, but no assurance can be given that these factors, expectations and assumptions will prove to be correct.

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; our ability to explore, develop, produce, upgrade and transport crude oil and natural gas to markets; ultimate effectiveness of design or design modifications to facilities; the results of exploration and development drilling and related activities; the cumulative impact of oil sands development on the environment; the impact of technology on operations and processes and how new complex technology may not perform as expected; the availability of pipeline and global refining capacity; risks inherent to the operations of any large, complex refinery units, especially the integration between production operations and an upgrader facility; availability of third-party bitumen for use in our oil sands production facilities; labour and material shortages; risks related to accidents, blowouts and spills in connection with our offshore exploration, development and production activities, particularly our deepwater activities; direct and indirect risks related to the imposition of moratoriums, suspensions or cancellations of our offshore exploration, development and production operations, particularly our deepwater activities; the impact of severe weather on our offshore exploration, development and production activities, particularly our deepwater activities; the effectiveness and reliability of our technology in harsh and unpredictable environments; risks related to the actions and financial circumstances of our agents, counterparties, contractors, and joint venture parties; volatility in energy trading markets; foreign currency exchange rates; economic conditions in the countries and regions in which we carry on business; governmental actions including changes to taxes or royalties, changes in environmental and other laws and regulations including without limitation, those related to our offshore exploration, development and production activities; renegotiations of contracts; results of litigation, arbitration or regulatory proceedings; political uncertainty, including actions by terrorists, insurgent or other groups, or other armed conflict, including conflict between states; and other factors, many of which are beyond our control.

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 forward-looking 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 the Risk Factors contained in our 2010 Annual Information form, and to the Quantitative Disclosures about Market Risk and our Forward Looking Statements contained in our 2010 Management Discussion and Analysis.

Cautionary Note to US Investors

In this disclosure, we may refer to "recoverable reserves", "recoverable resources", "recoverable contingent resources" and "prospective resources" which are inherently more uncertain than proved reserves or probable 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 Information Form available under our profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com for further reserves disclosure.

Cautionary Note to Canadian Investors

Nexen has received an exemption from the securities regulatory authorities in the various provinces of Canada from certain requirements of National Instrument 51-101 Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities ("NI 51-101") that permits us to disclose reserves estimates and related disclosures that have been prepared in accordance with SEC requirements.

As a result of this exemption, Nexen's disclosures may differ from other Canadian companies and investors should note the following fundamental differences between reserves estimates and related disclosures prepared in accordance with SEC requirements and those prepared in accordance with NI 51-101:


--  SEC reserves estimates are based upon different reserves definitions and
    are prepared in accordance with generally recognized industry practices
    in the US whereas NI 51-101 reserves are based on definitions and
    standards promulgated by the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook
    ("COGE Handbook") and generally recognized industry practices in Canada;
--  SEC reserves definitions differ from NI 51-101 in areas such as the use
    of reliable technology, areal extent around a drilled location,
    quantities below the lowest known oil and quantities across an undrilled
    fault block; 
--  the SEC mandates disclosure of proved reserves and the Standardized
    Measure of Discounted Future Net Cash Flows and Changes Therein
    calculated using the year's monthly average prices and costs held
    constant whereas NI 51-101 requires disclosure of reserves and related
    future net revenues using forecast prices and costs; 
--  the SEC mandates disclosure of reserves by geographic area whereas NI
    51-101 requires disclosure of reserves by additional categories and
    product types; 
--  the SEC does not require the disclosure of future net revenue of proved
    and proved plus probable reserves using forecast pricing at various
    discount rates; 
--  the SEC requires future development costs to be estimated using existing
    conditions held constant, whereas NI 51-101 requires estimation using
    forecast conditions; 
--  the SEC does not require the validation of reserves estimates by
    independent qualified reserves evaluators or auditors, whereas, without
    an exemption noted below, NI 51-101 requires issuers to engage such
    evaluators or auditors to evaluate, audit or review reserves and related
    future net revenue attributable to those reserves; and 
--  the SEC does not allow proved and probable reserves to be aggregated
    whereas NI 51-101 requires issuers to make such aggregation. 

The foregoing is a general description of the principal differences only. The differences between SEC requirements and NI 51-101 may be material for certain properties. Please also note:


--  we use oil equivalents (boe) to express quantities of natural gas and
    crude oil in a common unit. A conversion ratio of 6 mcf of natural gas
    to 1 barrel of oil is used. Boe may be misleading, particularly if used
    in isolation. The conversion ratio is based on an energy equivalency
    conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not
    represent a value equivalency at the wellhead; and 
--  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. 

Nexen has also received an exemption from NI 51-101 that permits us to forego the requirement to have our reserves and related future net revenue attributable to our reserves evaluated, audited or reviewed by an independent qualified reserves evaluator or auditor. Accordingly, our future net revenue and reserves estimates are based on internal evaluations. Due to the extent and expertise of our internal reserves evaluation resources, our staff's familiarity with our properties and the controls applied to the evaluation process, we believe the reliability of our internally generated reserves estimates is not materially less than would be generated by an independent reserves evaluator.

Resources

The resource estimates contained in this news release were announced on September 27, 2010 and were prepared by qualified reserves evaluators. The estimated contingent and prospective resources in this news release reflects all of our low, high and best case of recoverable resources. A "best estimate" is the best estimate of the quantity of resources that will actually be recovered. It is equally likely that the actual quantities recovered will be greater or less than the best estimate. Those resources that fall within the best estimate have a 50% confidence level that the actual quantities recovered will equal or exceed the estimate. The 'low estimate' and 'high estimate' are considered to be conservative and optimistic estimates of resources with 90% and 10% confidence respectively. Nexen's estimates of contingent and prospective resources are based on definitions set out in the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook. Contingent resources are 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. Prospective resources are quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from undiscovered accumulations by application of future development projects.

Contingencies on resources may include, but are not limited to, factors such as economic, legal, environmental, political and regulatory matters or a lack of markets. Specific oil sands contingencies precluding these contingent resources being classified as reserves include but are not limited to: project sanction, the cost and effectiveness of steam-assisted gravity drainage application, stakeholder and regulatory approvals, access to required services and infrastructure, oil prices and a demonstration of economic viability. There is no certainty that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of these contingent oil sands resources.

Specific shale gas contingencies precluding these contingent resources being classified as reserves include but are not limited to: future drilling program and testing results, project sanction, the cost and effectiveness of fracing optimization, stakeholder and regulatory approvals, access to required services and field development infrastructure, gas prices and a demonstration of economic viability. There is no certainty that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of these contingent shale gas resources. In the case of shale gas prospective 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.

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

  • Janet Craig
    Vice President, Investor Relations
    (403) 699-4230

    Pierre Alvarez
    Vice President, Corporate Relations
    (403) 699-6291

    Nexen Inc.
    801 - 7th Ave SW
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3P7
    www.nexeninc.com