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Shell, Exxon near deal to sell North Sea assets to Viaro, sources say

By Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) — Shell (LON:SHEL) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) are nearing an agreement to sell their jointly-owned gas fields in the southern North Sea to independent British producer Viaro Energy, three industry and banking sources said.

The potential deal is valued around $500 million, one of the sources said.

The sale of the Clipper and Leman Alpha field clusters would mark the latest step in a steady retreat of major oil and gas companies from the ageing basin in recent decades as they focus on newer and more profitable prospects.

For Texas-based Exxon, it would complete the exit from the North Sea, where it has been present since 1964. It sold most of its assets in the central and northern North Sea to Neo Energy in 2021.

U.S. rival Chevron (NYSE:CVX) is also selling its last remaining assets in the British North Sea.

The deal is close to being agreed but there are no guarantees that it will be signed, one of the sources said.

Shell, Exxon and Viaro Energy declined to comment.

Viaro Energy acquired RockRose Energy in 2020 and has since then made several other deals in the British and Dutch North Sea. The company produces around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and has interests in over 30 fields, according to its website.

The sale of the Clipper and Leman Alpha fields would also mark the dissolution of the Esso joint venture between Shell and Exxon, which joined forces in the North Sea in 1965.

Shell remains one of the main producers in the North Sea, operating several fields including the Penguins redevelopment and holding a stake in the BP-operated Clair field.


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