Canadian oil and gas sector witnesses uptick in divestments: EY report

Unlocking value through divestments demands a five-step approach

CALGARY, Sept. 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Divestments are top of mind across Canada's oil and gas sector, according to a new EY report, The emergence of Canadian gas divestments: challenges and success factors.

"We've seen a marked increase in the number of gas divestments in Canada's oil and gas sector in the last two years," says Barry Munro, EY's Canadian Oil & Gas Leader. "Companies are evaluating their portfolios and shedding assets in the face of uncertain natural gas prices, high oil prices, increased North American gas production, reduced demand from the US and market access challenges."

Canadian natural gas producers now face tough decisions around whether to produce for less, squeeze more capital and operating costs out of the system to remain profitable, sell assets, adopt a wait-and-see approach, focus on liquids rich gas or stop producing all together and shut in wells. But the picture isn't all bad.

"Divestments are seen today as strategic transactions to raise or release capital and realign business objectives," says Lance Mortlock, partner in EY's Canadian Oil & Gas practice. "Ensuring companies unlock the greatest value from these transactions requires significant pre-sale preparations — especially in today's buyers' market."

Too often companies have inadequate resources to devote to these transactions, potentially leaving money on the table or overlooking other strategic opportunities.

A well thought out divestment process and a detailed divestiture plan, with specific work streams designed to address each of the following five factors critical to success:

1. People
2. Business processes
3. Systems
4. Tangible and intangible assets
5. Commitments and third party obligations

Knowing when and how to sell or buy assets through carve-outs can become a powerful means of managing capital to increase shareholder value.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

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SOURCE: EY (Ernst & Young)

For further information: Erika Bennett,, 416 943 5497; Sarah Shields,, 604 648 3607; Julie Fournier,, 514 874 4308



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