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February 16, 2012 6:14 PM

ConocoPhillips Stays In-House for $1.29 Billion Sale of Vietnamese Business

Posted by Brian Baxter

In the latest move aimed at revamping its operations, ConocoPhillips said Thursday it will sell its Vietnamese assets for $1.29 billion to British and French oil company Perenco.

The sale is in line with ConocoPhillips's recent efforts to shed its least-profitable units under a three-year plan intended to raise up to $20 billion via asset sales, according to Bloomberg.

Since the plan runs through the end of 2012, the sale of the company's operations in Vietnam is a key component of that initiative, reports the Daily Deal. The Perenco transaction includes ConocoPhillips-owned stakes in two offshore oil fields and a 200-plus-mile gas pipeline that connects to the Vietnamese mainland. The sale is expected to close by the middle of the year.

Dagfinn Nygaard, ConocoPhillips's managing counsel for the Asia Pacific region, is leading an in-house team working on the matter. Janet Langford Kelly, a former partner at Sidley Austin and Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason, has served as the Houston-based company's general counsel since 2006.

As previously reported by The Am Law Daily, ConocoPhillips retained longtime legal adviser Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to advise on a planned split of the company into two publicly traded companies—one focused on oil and gas production, the other on refining and marketing operations— slated for later this year.

Wachtell, which represented predecessor company Phillips Petroleum on its $15.6 billion merger with Conoco in 2002, also advised ConocoPhillips in 2010 on the sale of  7.6 percent of its shares in Russian energy giant Lukoil for $3.4 billion.

While ConocoPhillips stayed in-house for the sale of its Vietnamese assets, it has kept its roster of outside legal advisers busy with plenty of other transactional matters over the past few years.

In November, ConocoPhillips turned to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for counsel on the sale of its stakes in two U.S. pipeline operators for a total of $2 billion. Canadian firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt advised ConocoPhillips in 2010 on the $4.65 billion sale of its stake in a Canadian oil sands joint venture, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton represented the company in 2008 on the $800 million sale of more than 600 Union 76 gas stations.

Representatives for Perenco did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether the company employed an outside legal adviser for the deal.

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