Exxon Mobil Looking for Buyers of North Sea Assets

HOUSTON(Dow Jones Newswires), Jan. 12, 2011

Exxon Mobil said Wednesday that it is shopping its stake in four North Sea oil and gas fields.

The U.K. unit of ExxonMobil's recently acquired XTO Energy owns the properties, according to a document announcing the sale released by IndigoPool, Schlumberger's mergers and acquisitions business. ExxonMobil, the largest U.S. oil company by market value, did not provide an estimated value of the assets.

ExxonMobil will consider a cash sale, swap of assets or a combination of both for its entire interest in the production blocks, according to the IndigoPool document.

ExxonMobil plans to open a data room on the properties on Jan. 24.

Three of the four offered properties lie atop the Platypus gas discovery in the North Sea, in which ExxonMobil holds a 15% stake. The Texas oil giant holds a 33% share in the fourth block offered for sale, which lies within the Witch Ground Graben area.

Dana Petroleum PLC, majority stakeholder and operator of the Platypus blocks, said in April that that reservoir holds an estimated 130 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Discussions are under way to further assess the prospect with more drilling this year, according IndigoPool.

ExxonMobil spokesman Patrick McGinn said the company continually evaluates possible divestment and acquisitions to maximize the value of its asset portfolio.

"In order to do this, we will test the interest of other companies in particular assets that we think could have relatively higher value in their portfolios than in ours," McGinn said.

Exxon and XTO merged in June in a $25 billion deal, excluding debt. It is common for large energy companies to shed noncore assets gained in their acquisitions.

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