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ConocoPhillips Focuses On Shale, Prepares To Sell North Sea Assets

ConocoPhillips is focusing on its U.S. shale business and is getting ready to sell some or all of its North Sea assets that could fetch US$2 billion, Reuters reported on Monday, citing banking and industry sources.

ConocoPhillips—which had tried to sell some of its North Sea assets in 2014 but failed—has not yet launched a sales process or appointed banks, according to Reuters’ sources.

Executives from the U.S. oil company, however, are said to have recently met and spoken with several operators in the North Sea and with bankers to “gauge the appetite for the sale”, one of the sources told Reuters.

ConocoPhillips has been operating in the UK and Norwegian parts of the North Sea for more than 50 years. The company’s operated assets in Europe include the Greater Britannia, J-Area, and Southern North Sea (SNS) fields in the United Kingdom and the Greater Ekofisk Area in Norway. ConocoPhillips also conducts exploration activity in both Norway and the United Kingdom.

In the UK, ConocoPhillips’s total production in 2017 stood at 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), according to the U.S. company’s annual report.

Related: OPEC Lifts Oil Demand Forecast Amid Rising Prices

ConocoPhillips also holds a 24 percent stake in the Clair Ridge project operated by UK supermajor BP. The Clair Ridge project is targeting 640 million barrels of recoverable resources with two new bridge-linked platforms, the construction of which was completed in 2016. BP expects first oil from Clair Ridge this year, with plans to continue production until 2050 and production capacity expected to peak at 120,000 bpd.

Last month, ConocoPhillips said in an emailed statement to Reuters that it would cut 450 jobs in the UK over the next two years as the company shuts down its southern North Sea production through the Theddlethorpe Gas Terminal. The job cuts will begin in October this year and take place until April 2020, ConocoPhillips said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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