Norwegian independents seek strength through merger

Aker Exploration and Det norske oljeselskap have agreed to merge, creating a new force in E&P in the Norwegian sector.

Offshore staff

TRONDHEIM -- Aker Exploration and Det norske oljeselskap have agreed to merge, creating a new force in E&P in the Norwegian sector.

Their combined interests in terms of licenses and operatorships will far outstrip those of other independent competitors on the Norwegian shelf, the two parties claim.

The new company will retain the name Det norske oljeselskap, with a registered address in Trondheim, and offices in Stavanger, Oslo, and Harstad. Erik Haugane will be CEO, with Kjell Inge Rokke, head of Aker Exploration, proposed as chairman.

Det norske’s existing shareholders will own 82% of the merged company, the remainder held by Aker Exploration’s shareholders. But Aker ASA will be the largest individual shareholder, with 30%.

The new company will have interests in 70 Norwegian licenses, 32 as operator. Haugane commented: “Having Aker as our largest owner improves the company’s chances of achieving its goal of becoming a new big oil and gas company, with several development projects and substantial production in Norway.”

Det norske will also benefit from Aker’s rig capacity, including the Songa Delta and Aker Barents, making it a more attractive partner for programs on the Norwegian shelf. This should also strengthen its position when bidding in future licensing rounds.

Both companies already had extensive exploration programs planned, while Det norske brings ownership interests in fields in production and stakes in discoveries that should be developed over the coming years.

08/25/2009

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