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HitecVision merges North Sea firm Verus with Neo Energy

Norwegian private equity fund HitecVision has decided to merge its two UK North Sea businesses, sparking the exit of Aberdeen-based Verus Petroleum’s boss.

Verus is being integrated into recently-launched Neo Energy, also owned by HitecVision, of Stavanger.

A number of directors have now left Verus, including chief executive Alan Curran, according to Companies House.

Neo Energy owns 50% of Petrogas Neo, a joint venture which agreed to buy a package of UK oil and gas assets from Total in July. The other partner is Oman-based Petrogas.

It’s understood that while a number of directors have left Verus, the company’s operations team remains in place.

Neo Energy is expected to use Verus’ current base in the Silver Fin building on Union Street, Aberdeen.

Neo Energy’s chief executive is Glenn Corrie, who said: “The integration of Verus is a significant step towards creating a leading UK continental shelf independent.

“Combined with the acquisition of the Total portfolio, Neo has a solid platform for growth and will be one of the top 10 independent producers in the region with ambitions to rapidly grow in the medium term.

“Neo is delighted to welcome Verus’ Aberdeen-based team and looks forward to working with them to build a next generation UKCS operator.”

Verus, founded by HitecVision in 2014, has secured a number of acquisitions in recent years.

Its first was completed in January 2017 when it bought an additional 9.8% interest in the Boa field from Maersk Oil, taking its total stake to 11.35%.

Further success followed in 2018 with the acquisitions of 47% of the Babbage gas field from Premier Oil and 17% of the Alba field from Equinor – both announced in April.

The company’s “big deal” followed in September 2018, when it struck an agreement to buy Cieco Exploration and Production (E&P) UK from Japanese corporation Itochu for £300 million.

It gave Verus interests in the Western Isles and Hudson projects, operated by Dana, and added production of about 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) to the portfolio. Verus also received stakes in the Brent pipeline and Sullom Voe Terminal in Shetland.

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