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Talisman Energy sells stake in Colombia pipeline for US$595 million

CALGARY - Talisman Energy Inc. said Tuesday it has reached a deal to sell its stake in a Colombian pipeline for about US$595 million, in an ongoing effort to better focus its operations.

The Calgary-based oil and gas company (TSX:TLM) said the 12 per cent interest in the Ocensa Pipeline, which was held by two affiliates, is being sold to an investment group led by Advent International.

In March, Talisman (TSX:TLM) set a target of getting rid of between $2 billion to $3 billion of its assets to strengthen its balance sheet.

With the Ocensa deal, Talisman has reached that target range. Last month, the company announced plans to sell B.C. natural gas holdings for $1.5 billion to Progress Energy Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Malaysia's Petronas.

Talisman said it will transport its own crude through the line, with its affiliates retaining the rights to transport 63,000 barrels per day.

"Through this transaction, we have unlocked net value from our portfolio and retained our crude transportation rights," said Hal Kvisle, president and CEO of Talisman Energy.

With the purchase, the group led by Advent now hold a 22 per cent stake in Ocensa.

Talisman has been faced with increasing pressure since billionaire investor Carl Icahn revealed in October that he bought a six per cent interest in the company. He has since increased his stake to about seven per cent.

Earlier this month, two of Icahn's representatives joined the company's board, increasing the activist investor's involvement in the oil and gas company's key decisions.

One of Icahn's representatives will sit on the board committee searching for a successor to Kvisle, who plans to step down next year.

Kvisle took the reins of the company last year and has since set out a new strategy that has honed its focus on the Americas and Southeast Asia.

Talisman is still aiming to find a joint-venture partner for its lands in Alberta's Duvernay shale and buyers for offshore Norway operations.

Talisman shares gained 18 cents to $12.59 in late-morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Canadian Press


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