American energy major Exxon Mobil is reportedly looking to exit the British North Sea basin after 50 years of operational presence.
Exxon has already put its Norwegian offshore assets for sale and is keen to expand the focus on U.S. shale production.
In the UK basin, Exxon’s operations are run under a 50-50 joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell.
Called as Esso Exploration and Production UK, the company has been producing oil at the Brent field since 1976 and is synonymous with the global crude benchmark Brent crude.
Exxon’s website says it produces 80,000 barrels of oil and 441 million cubic feet of gas per day in the British North Sea basin.
In the North Sea Basin, Exxon has exposure in 40 oil and gas fields.
By quitting the British North Sea basin, the Irving, Texas-based company will be making a major retreat from Europe.
According to Reuters report, the American energy major has started talking to many North Sea operators to ascertain their interest in its assets which may fetch at least $2 billion, according to sources quoted in the report.
Exxon declined to comment.
Already some of its competitors from the U.S operating in the British North Sea have left the region. They include Chevron and ConocoPhillips who sold the bulk of their North Sea operations.
Potential buyers interested in Exxon assets may include North Sea producers such as Chrysaor and Neptune.
If direct discussions do not yield any result, Exxon may hire an external bank to run a formal sale process, the report said.
The Exxon Mobil news says it is looking to shift the operational focal point to the United States, where it is ramping up oil production in the Permian Basin, and Guyana via huge, untapped fields.
Investment bank Jefferies hired to sell Norwegian assets
Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil appointed investment bank Jefferies to speed up the stake-sale it holds in oil and gas fields off the Norwegian coast.
Exxon’s Norwegian upstream portfolio includes minority stakes in 20 fields that are run by Equinor and Royal Dutch Shell.
Exxon has stayed in the northern European country for more than 125 years.
Bright outlook on US shale oil
Exxon’s interest in tapping the prospects of the U.S shale oil is supported by the bright market prospects borne by the latest data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
It showed that the surging output from seven shale formations is going to perk up volumes by 85,000 barrels per day (BPD) in September leading to a record 8.77 million BPD.
At the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, the output is expected to increase 75,000 BPD and will take it to 4.42 million BPD in September.
Similarly, the volumes in North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken region will also zoom, the data said.
Higher production in the Permian and Bakken has been the key to a shale boom that made the U.S the biggest oil producer ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Exxon stock was up 0.11 percent during Tuesday morning trade.