Oil majors shed unwanted acreage

Oil majors in the North Sea, following various mergers and the acquisition of assets of other companies, are continuing to rid themselves of unwanted acreage. It is generally believed that these are units that some of the newcomers, who specialize in using new technology and cost-cutting to continue production in aging fields in the UK continental shelf, may like to snap up.

Oil majors in the North Sea, following various mergers and the acquisition of assets of other companies, are continuing to rid themselves of unwanted acreage.
It is generally believed that these are units that some of the newcomers, who specialize in using new technology and cost-cutting to continue production in aging fields in the UK continental shelf, may like to snap up.

ConocoPhillips has opened a data room for the disposal of assets, which includes five fields with producing oil reserves of 41 MMbbl of oil and 120 bcf of gas. There is the potential for a further 38 MMbbl of oil and 116 bcf of gas. It is estimated that undeveloped discoveries and prospects, which are included in the sale, could contain 60 MMbbl of oil and 90 bcf of gas. Bids are due by June 2.

Among the available fields in the southern basin is Audrey, a one-time core asset for Phillips, which has been in production since October 1988. Remaining reserves are estimated at 40 bcf of gas and 120 MMbbl of condensate.

Also available is a 30% stake in the Miller oil and gas field, which came onstream in 1992. BP, the operator with 52%, recently said that it was not trying to sell its stake. It has disposed of a number of North Sea assets and is contemplating divesting further.

A surprise offer by ConocoPhillips is for Maureen, where Phillips stopped production in October 1999 and removed the platform and facilities. This package includes interests in surrounding blocks. ConocoPhillips now says that the reservoir contains 11-47 MMbbl of oil, and there are three oil prospects and three discoveries in the area. Among the sale are interests in the producing fields of Banff, Gryphon, and Gryphon South.

Shell has invited bids for stakes in a number of mature fields, including Montrose, Arbroath, Alba, Orion, Magnus, and Foinaven East, where its share of production is around 6,000 b/d. These were acquired as part of the company's take-over of Enterprise Oil. Shell is also trying to rid itself of some undeveloped discoveries and exploration acreage.

Agip has almost completed the sale of a number of its assets in a restructuring program. Amerada sold its 50% interest in the Chestnut oilfield to Venture, the UK independent, raising its interest to 69.9%.

04/16/03

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