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A consortium of private equity firms have agreed to acquire Australian-based Apache Energy for $2.1bn in cash.

The company has signed a deal with funds managed by Macquarie Capital Group and Brookfield Asset Management.

The sale represents Apache’s exit from exploration and production business in Australia, excluding its 49% interest in Yara Pilbara Holdings, a fertiliser producer.

Subject to government and regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to be completed in the middle of this year.

Apache president and CEO John Christmann IV said: "Today’s announcement represents a notable step in Apache’s strategic portfolio repositioning.

"After completion of the sale, Apache’s North America onshore will represent around 70% of its production volumes."

"Over the last five years, we have transitioned Apache’s primary growth engine to North America onshore through the announcement or completion of approximately $17bn of asset purchases and $17bn of asset sales."

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After completion of the sale, Apache’s North America onshore will represent around 70% of its production volumes.

Christmann added: "Our robust North American position is complemented by our North Sea and Egyptian regions, which have an extensive inventory of prospects and assets that generate free cash flow."

The latest sale comes after the company sold its Wheatstone LNG project and associated oil and natural gas assets to Woodside Petroleum in a $2.8bn deal.

The decision to sell its assets comes as the activist investor Jana Partners has been pressuring Apache to sell or spin off its international operations and focus on shale production in the US.

Image: Apache-operated Ningaloo Vision FPSO stationed offshore North West Western Australia. Photo: courtesy of Apache Corporation.