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Equinor has hired Standard Chartered to assist in a sale of the Norwegian energy major’s stake in an offshore oilfield in Nigeria, industry sources told Reuters on Wednesday, in what could be the latest attempt of a major oil firm to divest operations in the African OPEC member.
The potential sale of Equinor’s 20% stake in the Agbami field offshore Nigeria could fetch up to $1 billion, according to Reuters’ sources.
Equinor is reportedly looking to sell its Nigerian oilfield stake to focus on more profitable and newer projects, the sources said.
U.S. supermajor Chevron is the operator of the Agbami Field, which lies 70 miles off the coast of the central Niger Delta region and spans 45,000 acres. Chevron has a 67.3% interest in the field, whose production has dropped in recent years. To offset field decline, infill drilling continued in 2019, Chevron says.
In 2020, the field produced 29,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), down from 36,000 boepd in the previous year, according to Reuters.
The rumored sale makes Equinor the latest oil major looking to either exit or downsize operations in Nigeria.
Exxon is trying to sell shallow water assets offshore Nigeria, but Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari made a U-turn in August on his initial approval of the asset sale to Seplat after the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission declined to approve the deal.
TotalEnergies and Shell are also looking to sell assets in Nigeria. In May 2022, TotalEnergies launched the sale of its 10% stake in a joint venture, SPDC.
Shell said as early as in 2021 that it did not see its upstream oil operations in Nigeria as compatible with its strategy to become a net-zero energy business. Last year, Shell put on hold the sale of its onshore assets in Nigeria to comply with a Nigerian Supreme Court ruling to wait for the outcome of an appeal regarding an oil spill in 2019.
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com,