Freeport-McMoRan selling assets for $3.1B

PHOENIX - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. is selling its Eagle Ford Shale assets in Texas for $3.1 billion as it looks to lower its debt.

The buyer is a subsidiary of Encana Corp., a Canadian oil and natural gas company.

Freeport has been working on selling about $4 billion of its energy assets to help reduce debt and allow it to concentrate more on growth areas like the Gulf of Mexico. It anticipates getting net proceeds of about $2.5 billion from the latest deal.

The Phoenix-based copper and gold mining company said Wednesday that it expects to use approximately half the proceeds to repay outstanding debt. It foresees using the remainder of the proceeds to invest in assets in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal is targeted to close by the second quarter's end.

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