Exxon eyes UK North Sea exit after 50-year presence

Author: 
Reuters
ID: 
1565689543534424300
Tue, 2019-08-13 09:40

LONDON: Exxon Mobil is considering an exit from the British
North Sea after more than 50 years in the oil and gas basin as it
focuses on US shale production and new projects.
The world’s largest publicly traded energy company, Exxon has
held talks with a number of North Sea operators in recent weeks to
gauge interest in some or all of its assets, which could fetch up
to $2 billion, according to three industry sources with knowledge
of the matter.
Exxon declined to comment.
Leaving the British North Sea would mark a major retreat from
Europe for Irving, Texas headquartered Exxon, which has already put
its Norwegian offshore assets on the block.
It would follow similar moves by US rivals Chevron and
ConocoPhillips which earlier this year sold the bulk of their North
Sea operations.
Exxon’s operations are managed through a 50-50 joint venture with
Royal Dutch Shell, known as Esso Exploration and Production UK, and
include interests in nearly 40 oil and gas fields.
Shell declined to comment.
Exxon produces around 80,000 barrels of oil and 441 million cubic
feet of gas a day in the British North Sea, according to its
website.
Potential buyers could include large private equity-backed North
Sea producers such as Chrysaor or Neptune which have acquired
portfolios from veteran producers in recent years.
Should the direct discussions with potential buyers not yield a
result, Exxon will consider appointing an external bank to run a
formal sale process, two of the sources added.
Esso has been producing gas since 1968 and oil since 1976 including
from the Brent field, which is eponymous with the global crude
benchmark.
Exxon’s operational focal point in recent years has turned to the
United States, where it is rapidly ramping up oil production in the
Permian Basin, as well as in Guyana, where it is developing huge,
untapped fields.

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Exxon eyes UK North Sea exit after 50-year presence