Sources inside Exxon commented that the company finally agreed to sell its NCS assets, ending its production in a country where it started operations 125 years ago. ExxonMobil is Norway’s oldest energy company – established in 1893.
Exxon’s Norwegian upstream portfolio comprises minority stakes in more than 20 fields, operated by Equinor (i.e. Snorre) and Royal Dutch Shell (i.e. Ormen Lange).
An Exxon spokeswoman said: “As a matter of practice, we don’t comment on commercial discussions.”
The Irving, Texas-based company has held talks in recent weeks with a number of interested parties including Oslo-listed companies Equinor, Aker BP, and DNO, Lundin Petroleum as well as Vår Energi, backed by Eni, and private equity firm Hitech Vision, industry sources said.
Equinor, Lundin and DNO were not immediately available to comment. Vår declined to comment.
The three sources said that Exxon had closed the sale process in recent days with one buyer after agreeing on the terms of a sale.
Exxon hired investment bank Jefferies to run the sale process, banking sources told Reuters last month. Jefferies declined to comment.
The sale, if approved by regulators and completed, comes after Exxon focused in recent years on growing its onshore U.S. shale production, particularly in the Permian basin, as well as developing huge oil discoveries in Guyana.
Rystad Energy said in a note in June that as of Jan 1, 2019, Exxon held 530 MMboe on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
“The profile is mature and declining, but nevertheless sizeable in terms of current production. A portfolio generating high cash flow and with limited tax balances, given the Norwegian fiscal regime with 90% nominal tax relief on investment, will be highly attractive for any E&P company without sufficient revenue,” Rystad analyst Simon Sjothun said.