Middle East turmoil hampers Occidental Petroleum plans

Conflict roiling the Middle East will hamper efforts by Occidental Petroleum to unload as much as $8 billion of its assets in the region, according to a report.

Speaking at an energy conference in New Orleans on Tuesday, Occidental Chief Executive Steve Chazen said the oil and gas giant may have to sell its Middle East stake to individual buyers rather than to a consortium made up of Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, according to Bloomberg.

Chazen told investors that that the likelihood of the three countries cooperating on the deal is "difficult at best right now," the report said.

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Relations between Qatar and other oil-rich countries in the Gulf has soured in recent years, with Qatar backing the Muslim Brotherhood and other nations cracking down hard on the Muslim group.

Occidental, which announced last month that it was moving its headquarters to Houston from Los Angeles, has been trying to streamline its operations and improve profitability.

In October, the company said it planned to sell off its minority stake in the Middle East and North Africa region as part of those efforts.


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