Asset manager BlackRock cuts stake in Occidental Petroleum

HOUSTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, cut its stake in U.S. oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum Corp by about 9% last year, according to a securities filing on Friday.

The firm beneficially owned 53.69 million Occidental shares at the end of December, down 5 million shares from a year earlier. The stake was valued at $1.22 billion on Friday.

BlackRock did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The firm has urged companies to prepare their businesses to live in a low-carbon environment by the middle of this century.

Occidental Petroleum has embraced carbon emissions reductions and laid out a plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. A company representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on BlackRock’s share sales.

Occidental Petroleum’s market value sank 60% last year as oil demand and prices tumbled and debt from its 2019 purchase of Anadarko Petroleum drove losses. It lost $14.36 billion in the first nine months of 2020. Full-year results are set to be released on Feb. 16. (Reporting by Gary McWilliams Editing by Paul Simao)