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Murphy Oil to Sell Malaysian Assets to Thailand Company for $2B

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Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado said Thursday that it will sell two of its Malaysian oil assets to PTT Exploration and Production Public Co. Ltd. of Thailand for $2.1 billion.

The sale marks the publicly traded company’s (NYSE: MUR) departure from Malaysia, where it has operated for 20 years. It said it will use proceeds from the sale to “advance its strategic priorities,” including share repurchases and debt payments.

“After 20 years of successful operations in Malaysia, I am pleased to announce this all-cash transaction benefiting our shareholders by fully monetizing our proved and probable reserves,” Roger W. Jenkins, president and CEO, said in a news release. “The tactical repositioning of Murphy allows us to simplify our business and focus on our core assets in the Western Hemisphere. The transaction will provide us with greater financial flexibility and allow us to continue returning cash to our shareholders through share repurchases.”

The deal includes a bonus payment of up to $100 million bonus contingent upon future exploratory drilling results before October 2020, the company said.

PTT is a subsidiary of state-owned PPT Public Co. Ltd., a $6 billion company headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand.

Murphy said its board of directors approved a $500 million share repurchasing program. It also planned to use some of the sale proceeds to pay down $750 million of outstanding debt. Included in that debt is Murphy’s senior credit facility, which will be paid down to zero.

Leaving Malaysia, the company said it would continues its “oil-weighted strategy” in the Eagle Ford Shale and the Gulf of Mexico, while maintaining its focused exploration plan. It said it will use another $750 million of the sale proceeds for U.S. opportunities, including potential acquisitions and the funding of deep-water projects and onshore opportunities.

Murphy said it expects to record a book gain on the sale between $900 million to $1 billion, and plans to repatriate all the cash proceeds to the United States.

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