Norwegian oil firm Vår Energi, formed through the merger of Point Resources and ENI Norge late last year, has confirmed it’s buying ExxonMobil’s remaining oil field stakes on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reports that Vår Energi is expected to pay as much as USD 4.5 billion.
Confirmation came after DN had identified Vår Energi as the buyer Thursday night, and reported that the deal ranks as one of the biggest ever in the North Sea. Employees of both Vår Energi and ExxonMobil were informed of the deal on Thursday, with a final agreement between both companies expected at the end of the month. Neither firm would confirm details of the transaction yet.
ExxonMobil first launched a sale of its North Sea assets two years ago, with DN reporting preparations for a final “going out of business” sale in June. As oil prices sank on Friday and ExxonMobil withdraws, Vår Energi seems more than willing to expand activity off Norway and will become the next-largest company on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. DN reported that it’s paying a premium to attain exclusivity in final negotiations.
DN pegged Vår Energi’s expected production at 300,000-350,000 barrels a day. Several former Exxon employees work at Vår Energi which is led by Exxon veteran Kristin Kragseth. DN noted that few other potential buyers of ExxonMobil’s portfolio have more insight into it. The deal also follows up ExxonMobil’s sale in 2017 of its Balder and Ringhorne fields to the HitecVision acquisition fund, which remains a major private equity investor specializing in the oil and gas industry. Point Resources emerged from Hitec Vision before merging with Italian ENI’s Norwegian operations to form Vår Energi.