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Pioneer Natural Resources

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will sell its operations in Argentina to


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for $675 million, the company said in a press release.

The deal is expected to close during the first quarter or early in the second quarter.

Dallas-based Pioneer, an oil exploration and production company, said it will use proceeds from the sale to reduce its short-term debt.

The divested assets produced about 32,500 barrels of oil per day during 2005, with the net proved reserves at about 101 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Pioneer said: "The sale of our Argentina assets is consistent with the strategic initiatives announced last September to deliver enhanced value to our shareholders. It will allow us to reallocate capital to high-return North America development opportunities."

This story was created through a joint venture between and IRIS.