Report: Marathon Oil looking to exit UK North Sea business

The U.S. oil company Marathon Oil is reportedly looking to exit the UK North Sea business to focus on the U.S. onshore.

In an exclusive on Wednesday, Reuters reported that Marathon had hired Jefferies to sell its stakes in the Foinaven and Brae fields in the North Sea.

The news agency said, citing banking sources, that Marathon could sell the assets for around $200 million. Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Marathon seeking comment on the report.

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Marathon Oil, seeking for a confirmation of the Reuters report. We will update the article if we get any response.

Responding to our email, a Marathon oil spokesperson said: “Portfolio management is an ongoing and integral element of our successful business model as we continue to simplify and concentrate our portfolio to our highest return opportunities with a focus on our differentiated position in the U.S. resource plays. While we actively manage this aspect of our business, we don’t comment on specific assets or market rumors.”

If proven correct, this would be the second U.S. oil firm reported to be selling assets in the UK North Sea this week, after Chevron announced the sale of the Rosebank field stake to Equinor.

Apart from Rosebank, Chevron in July this year announced plans to sell all its UK Central North Sea assets, including Alba, Alder, Britannia (and satellites), Captain, Elgin/Franklin, Erskine, and Jade fields.

As for Marathon, the company owns a share in the Brae Area 274 kilometers north-east of Aberdeen in a water depth of approximately 110m.

The area consists of three fixed jacket platforms, three Marathon Oil operated subsea tie-backs and numerous pipelines and subsea components. Third parties also use the Brae Area facilities. Earlier this week, Marathon awarded a contract for the decommissioning of the Brae Bravo platform, that is part of the Brae Area complex.

According to a 2017 Marathon Oil document, in the Brae area complex where Marathon has a 42% working interest in the South, Central, North and West Brae fields, a 39% working interest in the East Brae field, and a 28% working interest in the nearby Braemar field.

Elsewhere in the UK, Marathon owns a non-operated working interest in the Foinaven area complex, consisting of a 28% working interest in the main Foinaven field, a 47% working interest in East Foinaven and a 20% working interest in the T35 and T25 fields.
Reporting on the planned sale of the assets on Wednesday, Reuters said, citing the sales document, that Marathon’s North Sea production was 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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