Company moves oil, gas interests elsewhere

Plains Exploration and Production Co. is pulling out of the Piceance Basin.

PXP sold its oil and gas interests in western Colorado, west Texas and southeastern New Mexico to Occidental Petroleum Corp. for $1.25 billion, according to a PXP news release issued Thursday.

PXP is instead focusing efforts on newly acquired properties in Louisiana, the Haynesville Shale play.

“This divestment facilitates PXP’s rotation from assets with moderate growth and challenging differentials to the unparalleled high growth Haynesville Shale play,” James C. Flores, chairman, president and chief executive officer of PXP, said in the news release. “The Haynesville Shale (play) will become a key driver to our production and reserve growth for most of the next decade.”

The effective date of the sale is Dec. 1.

Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis said Occidental will probably not make the same level of investment in Colorado that PXP had planned. He was unwilling to say the sale was a direct result of the recent rule changes being worked out by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, but he said the policies of Gov. Bill Ritter didn’t help.

“My concern, of course, is now that capital that Plains was planning to invest here has moved to east Texas or Louisiana,” Meis said. “The governor’s policies certainly haven’t been one to influence those types of investment.”

PXP officials were not immediately available for comment Friday.


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