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Maersk Oil Well-Positioned To Do Well As Standalone Business

Maersk Oil Qatar

Maersk Oil is well-placed to not just survive but thrive after its split from its parent, Danish logistics conglomerate AP Moeller Maersk, according to analysts. The spin-off was announced yesterday and was prompted by Maersk’s strategy of maximizing shareholder value by focusing on its core transport and logistics business.

The Danish company said at the announcement of its plans that the split will take place over the next two years and might see its oil and gas, drilling, tanker, and supply vessel businesses split off either individually or all together, via joint ventures, mergers, or listings.

For Maersk Oil, a listing would certainly make sense, according to analysts, who note that its stake in the huge untapped Norwegian field Johan Sverdrup in the North Sea along with other high-quality assets in Qatar, the UK, Algeria, and Denmark.

The company produces around 330,000 barrels of crude daily, of which 40 percent come from the Qatar Al Shaheen field. Maersk Oil, however, just lost a bid to continue as operator of this field, so next year its output will be 40 percent lower, until production at Johan Sverdrup and UK North Sea condensate field Culzean starts, which is scheduled for 2019.

The company was earlier this week reported to be in talks with Shell about an acquisition of most of the Dutch-British North Sea assets, worth about US$2 billion. An acquisition of these assets, which Shell is divesting as part of US$30-billion asset sale plan to cut debt, would further strengthen Maersk Oil’s positions in the North Sea.

The region seems to be the core focus of operations for Maersk’s energy division, and analysts have praised it for it. Bloomberg quotes DNB ASA, the largest financial services company in Norway, as saying that “…Maersk Oil will create a strong North Sea-focused production and development company, with a robust balance sheet to support dividends.”

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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