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Marathon Oil Exits UK North Sea In Continued Focus On U.S. Shale

Marathon Oil said on Monday that it would be exiting the UK North Sea as it continues to focus on high-return U.S. shale oil operations.

Houston-based Marathon Oil has signed an agreement with independent UK company RockRose Energy to sell its UK businesses Marathon Oil U.K. LLC (MOUK) and Marathon Oil West of Shetland Limited (MOWOS), which hold interests in fields in the Greater Brae Area, in Foinaven Field unit, and in Foinaven East. RockRose Energy will assume all obligations associated with MOUK and MOWOS operations in the UK, including decommissioning liability, Marathon Oil said.

The price of the sale—subject to customary adjustments—would be around US$140 million, the U.S. company said.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019, with an effective date of January 1, 2019. As of the end of 2018, Marathon Oil carried 21.4 million barrels of oil equivalent of proved reserves in the UK, and 2018 production averaged around 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

“Today’s announcement to divest our U.K. business represents our continued commitment to portfolio management and further concentrates our portfolio on high margin, high return U.S. resource plays,” Marathon Oil chairman, president, and CEO Lee Tillman said in a statement.

In March last year, Marathon Oil sold its 16.33 percent non-operated interest in the Waha concessions in Libya to France’s Total for US$450 million, exiting Libya.

Earlier this month, Marathon Oil said that it would be spending US$2.4 billion in 2019, with more than 95 percent of that capital budget being allocated to its four key U.S. resource plays—the Eagle Ford, the Bakken, STACK/SCOOP in Oklahoma, and Northern Delaware in the Permian.  

Marathon Oil’s U.S. resource play production averaged 295,000 net boed in the fourth quarter of 2018, with oil production averaging 174,000 net bopd, up 22 percent from Q4 2017. For this year, the company expects its total oil production to rise by 10 percent, with U.S. oil growth at 12 percent.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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