Updated: Exxon seeks bidders for Norwegian business, report says

Exxon owns non-operated interests in Equinor's Snorre field.
Exxon owns non-operated interests in Equinor's Snorre field.

US oil giant ExxonMobil is weighing up the sale of its Norwegian business, a news report said.

The Texas-headquartered major divested its operated assets about two years ago, but still has interests in around 20 fields.

“Following interest expressed by several parties, Exxon Mobil has decided to open a data room to test the market interest for the upstream portfolio in Norway,” Anne Fougner told Reuters, adding that no decision to sell had yet been made.

Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv initially reported on Exxon’s intentions, and said the portfolio could fetch up to $4 billion.

Neivan Boroujerdi, principal analyst, Europe upstream, at Wood Mackenzie, said: “The move doesn’t come as a surprise. We recently highlighted Norway amongst a US$48 billion pool of assets from which we think ExxonMobil could meet its recently announced US$15 billion divestment target.”

He added: “The sale has the potential to be the Norway’s biggest since Statoil’s merger with Norsk Hydro announced in 2006.

“While Norway is no longer core to the overall business, ExxonMobil’s position is substantial enough to receive an attractive exit price, particularly as Norway remains one of the premium M&A markets in the world.

“It’s a highly cash generative business with low operating costs, producing 150,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The portfolio is predominantly operated by Equinor, which has laid out its own plans for increased oil recovery in the coming years – so it will come with future investment opportunities.

“In terms of buyers, the new wave of North Sea independents are likely to be the front runners. Although the oil-heavy portfolio could deter some buyers looking to appease the investor community before an IPO in the coming years.”