Tuesday 13 August 2019 1:22 pm

Exxon Mobil prepares exit from the British North Sea

Exxon Mobil it poised to end a decades-long love affair with the British North Sea, becoming the latest US oil major to pull back and re-group on home soil.

The company has been sounding out fellow North Sea operators to find a suitable buyer for its assets in the basin, which could sell for up to $2bn (£1.65bn), sources told Reuters.

Read more: Chrysaor takes another big chunk in the North Sea with $2.7bn deal for Conoco Phillips oilfields

The meetings have been taking place in recent weeks, and involve all or some of Exxon’s assets.

The sale would represent a total retreat from a basin which is past its prime. Last month the company confirmed that it was looking to flog its Norwegian North Sea assets.

“Following interest expressed by several parties, Exxon Mobil has decided to open a data room to test the market interest for the upstream portfolio in Norway,” said Anne Fougner, a spokesperson.

The North Sea has faced a double-whammy hit as reserves dwindle alongside new discoveries in the US.

A boom in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico has caused several US majors to sell off, or scale back their foreign investments and re-purpose the cash towards the cheaper-to-extract oil back home.

The boom has also led to a glut of supply in the market, driving down oil prices and making more expensive wells, such as those in the North Sea, less attractive.

Read more: Chevron divests $2bn North Sea fields to Delek subsidiary as US majors scale back in the UK

Chevron and Conoco Phillips have both already sold their stakes in the British basin.

Exxon pumps around 80,000 barrels of oil and 441m cubic feet of gas a day from the area.

Main image credit: Getty