Hess Corp. won’t address reports that it’s planning to sell its Utica shale acreage in Ohio.
This month the New York driller hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to solicit bids that could give the company up to $500 million, according to Bloomberg.
But when asked by analysts on a third-quarter earnings call about the report, executives declined to comment.
“Obviously we’re always looking to optimize our portfolio, but we do not comment on M&A,” CEO John Hess told Barclays Capital analyst Paul Cheng.
Hess has a 50-50 joint venture in eastern Ohio with Consol Energy Inc. Executives for Consol, based near Pittsburgh, declined to comment on Tuesday.
Executives for Hess gave detail on its reduced drilling plans in 2016 for the Bakken shale in North Dakota and for its international holdings, but didn’t discuss the Utica’s future.
This was the fourth quarter in a row Hess posted a loss as it, like its oil and gas peers, deals with low commodity prices that hit the industry in the last year. The company expects to spend more than $1 billion less in 2016 than in 2015. Hess lost $279 million compared with a profit of $1.01 billion in the previous year.