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Talisman Cuts Capital Budget by 25%

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Canadian energy explorer Talisman Energy Inc. offered a glimpse of its 2013 capital spending plans. The Calgary, Alberta-based oil and gas player said that it will reduce capital expenditures by about $1 billion in 2013, as it focuses on unlocking value through asset sale/joint venture partnerships and grow production from promising liquids rich areas in the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

Talisman – that sold a major portion of its North Sea operations last year to Chinese refining giant Sinopec (SNP - Free Report) for $1.5 billion – has pegged its 2013 capital budget at about $3 billion, down 25% from the $4 billion it invested last year. Of the total, roughly 90% will go toward liquids and international gas projects.

At the same time, Talisman disclosed that it is examining $2–$3 billion in non-core asset divestitures or joint ventures over the next year and half. The expected proceeds from the property sale – including those in the Montney and northern Duvernay formations in Western Canada – is likely to be used for debt reduction, finance short-term development plans and buy back shares.    

Talisman, that has struggled to cope with low North American natural gas prices, also said that it expects its annual production to be in the range of 375–395 thousand oil-equivalent barrels per day (MBOE/d). The company guided towards liquids volume accounting for approximately 40% of the total output in 2013 (up from 35% in 2012), while international gas is supposed to make up a fourth of the total. Cash flow for the year is expected at around $2.5 billion.   

Talisman currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

Meanwhile, one can look at other Canadian upstream operators like ARC Resources Ltd. and Enerplus Corp. (ERF - Free Report) as attractive investments. Both these firms – sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) – offer value and are worth accumulating at current levels.

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