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Complete UK exit 'increasingly likely' for Chevron, Woodmac says

A full exit from the UK North Sea is “looking increasingly likely” for US major Chevron, an analyst said today.

The California-headquartered business has agreed to sell its central North Sea portfolio to Ithaca Energy, a subsidiary of Israel’s Delek Group.

Chevron’s UK business is left with a 19% non-operated stake in BP’s huge Clair field, west of Shetland.

Greig Aitken, director, corporate analysis at Wood Mackenzie, said: “We recently identified the UK as one of nine countries that we considered peripheral to Chevron, due to lack of scale and growth potential.

“Chevron will be left with 19% stake in the Clair field once the deal closes and a complete exit from the UK is looking increasingly likely.”

Kevin Swann, senior research manager, North Sea upstream, said: “The deal continues the UK trend of smaller companies taking on assets from the majors.

“Following hot on the heels of Chrysaor’s deal with ConocoPhillips, we’ve seen assets worth almost US$5 billion change hand in the last few months.

“International growth has been a long-term goal for Delek and it understands the UK North Sea well, having acquired Ithaca Energy in 2017.

“This is a strong portfolio and gives Ithaca operated control of key long-life assets like Captain and Alba.”

Tom Ellacott, senior vice president, corporate analysis at Woodmac, said: “The sale has been on the table for some time.

“Delek confirmed last month it had made a bid.

“Chevron has a disposal target of US$5 billion to US$10 billion between 2018 and 2020.

“Total asset sale proceeds since the beginning of 2018 are US$2.3 billion; this transaction will bring Chevron within a whisker of hitting the low end of its target range over a year early.”

Mr Ellacott added: “Chevron has a deep portfolio of high-return tight-oil opportunities through its leading position in the Permian basin – this sets a very high bar in the internal competition for capital within Chevron’s portfolio, making regions such as the UK now look more peripheral.”

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