US oil major ConocoPhillips is considering an exit from the UK North Sea, a news report said.
ConocoPhillips executives have spoken to bankers and other North Sea operators in recent weeks to gauge interest in the assets, Reuters reported, citing industry and banking sources.
The firm has not yet launched a formal sale process or hired a bank, the report said.
It is also unclear how much of the portfolio, thought to be worth up to $2billion, would be put up for sale.
Last month, the company said it would lay off about 450 workers across the UK.
ConocoPhillips has 1,300 staff members and contractors in the UK, including about 700 in Aberdeen.
The firm said the job losses would be spread out over the next two years and that it was not yet clear how many Granite-City-based workers will be affected.
Sources told Reuters that ConocoPhillips tried to sell some of its North Sea stakes in 2014, but that the process was unsuccessful.
In 2017, ConocoPhillips UK produced around 5% of the group’s total oil and gas production.
In February, ConocoPhillips’ UK president, Terri King, said a drilling programme was ongoing in the central North Sea “J-Area”, which consists of the Jade, Jasmine, Joanne and Judy fields.
The business also had plans for drilling on the Britannia field satellites, 130 miles north-east of Aberdeen. ConocoPhillips is the operator of the Brodgar, Callanish and Enochdhu fields, and expected drilling to start in 2019.
The firm’s other UK North Sea interests include a 24% stake in the BP-operated Clair Ridge project, which is expected to produce first oil west of Shetland later this year.
In addition, the business submitted bids for acreage in the 30th UKCS licensing round, the results of which are due to be announced this month.