ExxonMobil signed an agreement with Vår Energi AS for the sale of its non-operated upstream assets in Norway for US$4.5 billion that will transfer ownership interests in more than 20 producing fields in the country.
The sale by International is part of its previously announced plans to divest approximately $15 billion in non-strategic assets by 2021.
“Our objective is to have the strongest, most competitive Upstream portfolio in the industry,” said Neil Chapman, senior vice president of ExxonMobil. “We’re achieving that by adding the best set of projects we’ve had in many years and divesting assets that have lower long-term strategic value. This sale is an important part of our divestment program, which is on track to meet our $15 billion target by 2021.”
The transaction includes ownership interests in more than 20 producing fields operated mostly by Equinor, including Grane, Snorre, Ormen Lange, Statfjord and Fram, with a combined production of approximately 150,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day in 2019.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to standard conditions precedent, including customary approvals from regulatory authorities.
Vår Energi will fund the transaction from existing cash resources and a Reserve Based Lending debt facility which has been fully underwritten by BNP Paribas and will subsequently be syndicated.
Vår Energi is owned by Eni and HitecVision. Once the deal comes through the company will become the second largest E&P company on the NCS after Equinor, with total reserves and resources of about 1,900 million boe.
The majority of the ExxonMobil employees impacted by the sale will transfer to positions at Vår Energi.
Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni, stated: “The transaction delivers a key strategic objective for Vår Energi. The acquired assets complement and strengthen Vår Energi in core areas well known to Management and open up new opportunities for growth. As shareholder we are pleased that the Company becomes the second largest oil and gas company and Equinor’s largest partner in Norway, and look forward to delivering on the still tremendous potential of the NCS. In one year, we have completely restructured and strengthened the Eni presence in Norway by creating a strong Norwegian partnership based on the shareholders’ alignment on strategy and objectives. Furthermore, in coherence with Eni’s strategy, the increase in OECD production will contribute to Eni’s rebalancing of geographical exposure.”
Kristin Kragseth, chief executive of Vår Energi, says: “This transaction is a major milestone in the short history of Vår Energi and a proof of our commitment to further develop the NCS. In delivering on our ambitious growth plans, Vår Energi will not only be a major force on the shelf, we are also creating major opportunities for Norwegian suppliers in the years to come, securing employment in many parts of the country. It also gives me great pleasure to welcome our previous colleagues in ExxonMobil into Vår Energi. Our priority will be to continue to operate in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”