ExxonMobil is in exclusive talks with Vår Energi about the sale of its remaining oil and gas assets in Norwegian waters. The move comes after it was revealed that the US-based oil giant was looking to sell its remaining assets in the UK portion of the North Sea. Together, these would end ExxonMobil’s long-standing presence in the North Sea, which dates back to the early days of exploration in the 1960s.
ExxonMobil, which also supplies Mobil distributors, is not the only large oil company moving away from North Sea oil and gas. Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips have all divested assets or scaled back projects in order to focus on other sources of oil and gas production, most notably in the prolific US shale oil fields. Fortunately, many smaller oil companies are keen to take on the oil fields, many of which are already rather old. These companies are often specialised in getting the most out of such mature fields.
Vår Energi is a joint venture between a private equity fund focused on North Sea investments, HitecVision, and Eni, the Italian oil and gas supermajor. ExxonMobil’s Norwegian oil and gas assets may cost Vår as much as $4.5bn (£3.6bn), but the purchase would enable it to almost double its production, making it Norway’s second-largest producer after Equinor, which was formerly known as Statoil. Talks appear to be ongoing, however, as a spokesperson for Vår indicated:
“It’s not a confirmed deal but we have entered exclusive talks.”