JX Nippon Exploration and Production Ltd. is preparing the sale of its oil and gas fields in the UK North Sea, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The assets could be valued at as much as $2 billion, one of the people said. Discussions are in early stages and no final agreements have been reached, the people said.
JX Nippon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters was first to report the sale process, stating the company is seeking $1.5billion for the assets, citing banking sources.
The Tokyo-based company follows the retreat of other Japanese firms from the aging basin, including Marubeni Corp., which is conducting its own sales process. It adds to an uptick in deals in the U.K. North Sea this year, with companies such as BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. selling assets to an array of newcomers.
The sale will include stakes in Mariner and Culzean — among the newest large oil and gas fields in the basin — which are operated by Equinor ASA and Total SE respectively.
Total has billed Culzean as one of the largest producing gas fields in the UK, capable of accounting for 5% of UK demand.
Mariner, started up in 2019, is a massive heavy oil field in the East Shetland Basin, with 300million barrels recoverable.
JX Nippon, whose parent company is ENEOS Holdings Inc., also has stakes in oil and gas fields including Kinnoull, Brae and Andrew. The assets produce more than 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the UK Oil and Gas Authority.