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Suncor May Sell Stake In North Sea Oilfields

Canada’s Suncor Energy is considering selling part of its assets in the North Sea amid a wave of consolidation in the mature offshore basin, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, quoting sources with knowledge of the plans.

Suncor hasn’t formally launched a sales process but has approached potential buyers who have expressed interest in the fields in the UK and Norwegian parts of the North Sea, the sources said.

One of the stakes that Suncor explores divesting is its 26.69-percent working interest in the Golden Eagle Area in the central North Sea in UK waters. This stake could be worth around US$400 million, according to one of Bloomberg’s sources. In Norway’s North Sea, Suncor is also studying stakes in smaller fields, which could be valued at a total of US$100 million.

In recent years, the North Sea has seen several major deals, as operators are divesting non-core assets to raise cash.

U.S. companies have been extraordinarily active in selling assets in the North Sea to focus on their key growth areas in the United States.

Last year, Chevron sold its North Sea assets in the UK for US$2 billion. Marathon Oil also said it would be exiting the UK North Sea as it continues to focus on U.S. shale oil operations. In April 2019, ConocoPhillips sold its UK oil and gas business to Chrysaor Holdings for US$2.675 billion.

ExxonMobil has also put its UK North Sea assets up for sale.

UK oil and gas operators Premier Oil and Chrysaor said earlier this month they plan to merge, creating the largest listed independent oil and gas operator in the UK North Sea.

Commenting on this deal announcement, Greig Aitken, principal analyst on Wood Mackenzie’s corporate analysis team, said:

“Looking ahead, the UK sector is ripe for consolidation.”

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“Bigger, more efficient producers that are resilient enough to see through the cycles – but small enough not to be weighed down by internal competition for capital and high G&A costs – are better equipped to collaborate with the supply chain, maximise recovery and deliver consistent returns to shareholders,” Aitken added.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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