Verus Petroleum put up for sale, report says

Alan Curran, chief executive of Verus Petroleum based at the Silver Fin building, Aberdeen.
Alan Curran, chief executive of Verus Petroleum based at the Silver Fin building, Aberdeen.

Norwegian private equity fund HitecVision has reportedly put its UK North Sea oil production firm up for sale.

HitecVision is thought to have hired investment bank Jefferies to manage the divestment of Verus Petroleum, which could fetch £380 million, Reuters reported, citing industry and banking sources.

A spokeswoman for Verus said the company did not respond to “rumour and speculation”.

HitecVision, which launched Verus in 2014, has been contacted for comment.

Private-equity-backed firms have made several high profile acquisitions involving UK assets in recent years.

Chrysaor swooped for a package of assets from Shell, Neptune Energy bought Engie E&P International, and Siccar Point purchased OMV’s UK business.

Verus, which recently moved into the Silver Fin building on Union Street, Aberdeen, has secured a number of deals in recent years.

In January 2017, it bought an additional 9.8% interest in the Boa field from Maersk Oil, taking its total stake to 11.35%.

The company bought 47% of the Babbage gas field from Premier Oil and 17% of the Alba field from Equinor last year.

In September it struck an agreement to buy Cieco Exploration and Production (E&P) UK from Japanese corporation Itochu for £300 million.

That transaction gave Verus interests in the Western Isles and Hudson projects, operated by Dana, and added production of about 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) to its portfolio.

Verus also received stakes in the Brent pipeline and Sullom Voe Terminal in Shetland.

It meant Verus ended 2018 with a production profile of about 18,000 boepd.

Last month, Verus chief executive Alan Curran said he was confident the firm had the balance sheet and cash flow at its disposal to take on the risk of development opportunities in the North Sea.

READ: Private equity is ‘force for good’, says Verus boss