Shell is preparing to offload its stakes in two clusters of gas fields in the North Sea as part of its ongoing retreat from the ageing basin.
According to Reuters, the oil and gas giant is planning to offer its 50 per cent stake in a cluster of fields in the Clipper hub, as well as the Leman Alpha complex.
Shell has held both sites as part of large joint venture with Exxon Mobil since the 1960s, although its partner sold its British North Sea assets last year to private equity-backed Neo.
Industry sources told the news agency that Shell’s sale of its assets could fetch up to $1bn.
In recent years, Shell has sold a number of stakes in ageing fields in the North Sea, including a $3.8bn package of assets to Harbour Energy in 2017.
North Sea production has been in decline since the late 1990s, leading oil majors to reduce their role there to focus on more prolific and profitable business elsewhere.
The global transition to low-carbon and renewable energy sources has also increased the focus of top international oil companies on projects that can produce the most oil and gas with the lowest emissions intensity, such as large offshore fields.
Shell is developing new projects in the North Sea, including the Penguins project north of the Shetland Islands as well as plans to build offshore wind farms.
It has also revived talks with regulators on on the Jackdaw gas field, as the UK grapples with soaring power prices.
The plans were dealt a blow last year when the British regulator rejected development plans on environmental grounds.
Chief executive Ben van Beurden revealed earlier this month that Shell wants to sell an average of $4 billion-worth of assets per year.
With oil price near a seven-year high and sustained above $90 a barrel, van Beurden told analysts that it made sense to “think harder if this is the moment to harvest the late-life assets that are probably better off in the hands of others”.