Exxon Mobil is reportedly finalizing the sale of its Norwegian North Sea assets to a Norway firm backed by Italy’s Eni and private equity funding for about $4 billion (£3.2bn), according to Reuters and Norwegian media.
The expected sale continues the exodus to the top American energy firms from more mature North Sea oil production in order to focus on U.S. shale and other international prospects.
Exxon has for months indicated its interest in selling those assets.
Exxon is in exclusivity talks to sells its Norwegian North Sea assets to Var Energi, a joint venture in which Eni owns a nearly 70%. Norway’s biggest private equity firm, HitecVision, holds the remaining 30%.
Exxon Mobil declined comment on Friday morning.
For Exxon Mobil, the sale would end its 125-year history in Norway. The company does not operate its fields in the Norwegian North Sea, instead owning stakes in developments led by Norway’s Equinor and Royal Dutch Shell.
Exxon will still have a presence in the UK portion of the North Sea.
Var, which is growing as Norway’s second-largest producer after Equinor, bought Exxon’s operated assets in the Norwegian North Sea in 2017.
Exxon Mobil is currently focusing most of its oil production growth on the booming Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico, as well as the emerging deepwater developments offshore of Guyana in South America.
Other companies, including Chevron and Houston’s ConocoPhillips, have sold most of their North Sea assets of late. Even European Big Oil players like Shell and BP have sold a lot of their North Sea acreage, although those two are still active in other parts of the basin.
More private-equity backed companies like London-based Chrysaor are leading the new wave of North Sea production. Chrysaor recently bought ConocoPhillips’ assets in the region.
The full version of this article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.