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UNOCAL TO SELL CALIFORNIA OUTLETS TO TEXAS FIRM.

Byline: Gregory J. Wilcox Daily News Staff Writer

Unocal Corp. will sell its California oil and gas operations to Nuevo Energy of Houston for $500 million and use the money to expand its international operations, the companies said Tuesday.

The deal will cost some Unocal workers their jobs, but officials at both companies could not say how many.

About 600 people work on Unocal properties in the state, with most concentrated in the Central and Southern California areas. Many of them will be hired by Houston-based Nuevo, considered an "independent" oil company because it is much smaller than so-called "majors" like Unocal.

"I don't think it's any secret that an independent uses less people than the majors," said Nuevo spokeswoman Molly Jones. "We're going to give first preference to Unocal employees and look to the California work force for all the employees."

Houston-based Torch Energy Advisers Inc. negotiated the sale on behalf of Nuevo. Torch formed Nuevo in 1990 and will operate the California properties.

The deal, expected to close by the end of March, covers Unocal's interests in 68 oil and gas fields, including 11 producing platforms off the California coast.

Torch currently operates the Point Pedernales unit in the ocean off Vandenberg Air Force Base and several onshore fields near the military complex.

The sale will help Unocal reduce debt and expand foreign operations.

"The proceeds from this sale will give Unocal additional flexibility to pursue significant growth opportunities in Central and Southeast Asia," said Unocal chairman Roger C. Beach.

Unocal operates a big refinery near the Port of Los Angeles. Last year, the company began decentralizing its operations in downtown Los Angeles. The corporate offices moved to El Segundo and other workers transferred to Brea and Costa Mesa in Orange County.

The deal should benefit both companies, said analyst Michael D. Smolinski at First Albany Corp.
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 21, 1996
Words:309
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