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Noble Energy signals North Sea exit

Noble Energy signals North Sea exit
Noble Energy has signalled its intention to sell its assets in the North Sea and analysts have valued a deal as potentially worth up to £400million.

Noble Energy has signalled its intention to sell its assets in the North Sea and analysts have valued a deal as potentially worth up to £400million.

The Houston-based oil and gas company is the latest in a string of groups to plan or conclude the disposal of North Sea assets.

The US company has appointed global oil and gas merger, acquisition and divestment specialist Scotia Waterous to assist in a sale of its wholly owned subsidiary Noble Energy (Europe).

Noble holds non-operated interests in four UK central North Sea producing oil fields, four southern gas basin fields and an oil and gas field in the Dutch sector.

It also has significant interests in some North Sea developments, exploration assets and a small UK onshore position.

Its main oil-producing interests are a 30% stake in the Maersk-operated Dumbarton and Lochranza fields, a 14% stake in ConocoPhillips-operated MacCulloch and a 12.89% stake in Shell-operated Cook.

It also has interests in the Talisman-operated Fiddich, Nexen-operated Selkirk, Maersk-operated Flyndre and Venture-operated Bligh developments.

The group’s gas interests range from 2-24% in the Perenco-operated Lancelot, Malory and Guinevere producing fields plus a 20% stake in RWE-operated Windermere.

Offshore the Netherlands, Noble has 15% and 9% stakes in the Suncor/Petro-Canada operated Hanze oil field and gas field respectively.

Scotia Waterous says on its website that the offering provides potential buyers with a unique opportunity to acquire a 90%-plus oil-weighted portfolio of producing, development and exploration assets, all with strong North Sea operators.

It says daily production net to Noble is expected to reach 16,000 barrels of oil equivalent by the first quarter of next year.

It also says it has opened a data room providing information for interested parties and that bids should be submitted by October 21.

Noble’s North Sea operations began in 1996, and it now has interests in 18 licences.

The group also has assets onshore in the US, in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, west Africa, Ecuador and China.

Japanese investor Sumitomo said last month it wanted to sell off stakes in nine UK producing oil fields plus development and exploration assets believed to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Italian oil major Eni said the month before it was mulling the sale of North Sea assets as part of a periodic review.

Deals completed this year include the acquisition by Abu Dhabi national oil company TAQA of the energy unit of Dutch group DSM for £245.4million and a sale by Ithaca Energy of assets to Dyas UK for £62million.

Other planned disposals or sales have also been announced in recent months by Venture Production, Encore Oil and Faroe Petroleum.

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