(Reuters) - Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N) said it entered into a $556 million joint venture with an undisclosed party to develop its deepwater Gulf of Mexico Lucius oil and gas project.
The unnamed buyer, who will get a 7.2 percent working interest in the field, will spend $556 million to fund Anadarko's share of the project through first production. Production is expected to start in the second half of 2014, Anadarko said.
Anadarko will continue as operator of the project with a 27.8 percent working interest.
The agreement helps to minimize the Houston company's financial risk and implies a $2.15 billion value for Anadarko's share of the project, according to analysts at Baird Equity Research.
The Lucius development is located about 230 miles offshore the Gulf of Mexico in 7,200 feet of water.
Anadarko is developing the field using a truss spar floating production facility that is currently under construction.
The spar is being built with the capacity to produce more than 80,000 barrels of oil per day and 450 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.
The deal, which is subject to preferential purchase rights, is expected to close in the current quarter. At that time, Anadarko's new partner will be revealed.
Anadarko shares were down 1 percent at $65.48 in afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading. Energy stocks were broadly lower along with a decline in crude oil prices.
Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore and Anna Driver in Houston; editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Andre Grenon