Exclusive: After 50 years in UK North Sea, Exxon eyes the exit – sources

LONDON (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) is considering a sale of its assets in the British North Sea after more than 50 years in the oil and gas basin as it focuses on U.S. shale production and new projects.

FILE PHOTO: An Exxon gas station is seen in Houston, Texas, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

The world’s largest publicly traded energy company has held talks with a number of North Sea operators in recent weeks to gauge interest in some or all of its assets, which could fetch up to $2 billion, according to three industry sources with knowledge of the matter.

Exxon declined to comment.

Leaving the British North Sea would mark a major retreat from Europe for Irving, Texas-headquartered Exxon, which has already put its Norwegian offshore assets on the block.

It would follow similar moves by U.S. rivals Chevron and ConocoPhillips which earlier this year sold the bulk of their North Sea operations.

Most of Exxon’s operations are managed through a 50-50 joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), known as Esso Exploration and Production UK, and include interests in nearly 40 oil and gas fields.

Shell declined to comment.

Exxon produces around 80,000 barrels of oil and 441 million cubic feet of gas a day in the British North Sea, according to its website.

Potential buyers could include large private equity-backed North Sea producers such as Chrysaor or Neptune which have acquired portfolios from veteran producers in recent years.

Assigning a value to oil and gas assets in the North Sea is complicated because many

Keep reading this article on Reuters Business.

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