After a year plagued with disappointments and back-to-square-ones, Houston-based Occidental Petroleum finally has something to smile about. In the company’s efforts to reduce its debt load by more than $2 billion by year end, Oxy has scored a big win with the $1.33 billion sale of 4.5 million mineral acres and 1 million surface acres in Wyo., Colo., and Utah.

Occidental Petroleum

Occidental Petroleum Corporation is an American company engaged in hydrocarbon exploration in the United States, the Middle East, and Colombia as well as petrochemical manufacturing in the United States, Canada, and Chile. It is organized in Delaware and headquartered in Houston.

The deal also includes mineral rights to the world’s largest trona deposit. When refined into soda ash, trona is a key element to manufacture glass, paper products, laundry detergents, and even baking soda. Not surprisingly, the winning bidder knows a thing or two about mining. N.Y.-based, private equity firm Orion Mine Finance was one of 13 bidders on the package and invests exclusively in base and precious metals operations across the globe. For now, Occidental will keep its oil and gas assets in the Rockies, specifically in the DJ and Powder River basins. The sale is expected to close in 4Q. Oxy inherited the Rockies’ spread as part of its $38 billion purchase of Anadarko Petroleum last year, making the company the largest landowner in the state of Wyo.

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