Talisman Energy Inc. said Wednesday it has completed the sale of its oil interests in Sudan for $771-million (U.S.), slightly more than the deal's original pricetag.
The big oil and gas producer had announced the sale of the property in late October to the Indian state oil company for $750-million. However, closing the deal awaited approval of the company's other partners in Sudan, including the state oil companies of China and Malaysia, and the Sudanese governmment.
Talisman said all the necessary approvals were obtained earlier this week. The $771-million pricetag - $21-million more than originally stated - amounts to $1.13-billion (Canadian) at current exchange rates.
Talisman said it expects to record an after-tax gain on the sale in the 2003 first quarter of between $275-million to $285-million. That's lower than earlier estimates largely because the company recorded operating profits from Sudan since the beginning of this year, Talisman said in a release.
The Greater Nile Oil Project in Sudan was one of Talisman's key energy production zones, contributing a big chunk of the company's daily oil output. But Talisman's 25-per-cent stake in the oilwell and pipeline project turned into a political headache for the Calgary company.
Critics including human rights groups and churches said revenues from the Sudan project helped finance the country's civil war, which began in 1983 and has left more than two million people dead through fighting and famine.
Talisman has always maintained that its presence promoted peace and development in the east African country.
But now that it has left Sudan, Talisman will use the money to expand in its core areas, which include big natural gas operations in Canada and oil development in the North Sea and elsewhere.
Talisman is one of Canada's most international energy producers, even after its departure from Sudan.
The company is also expecting production from new projects in Malaysia, Vietnam and Algeria to replace the oil lost from selling the prolific Sudan holding.
In early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Talisman shares rose 30 cents to $60.50.