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Buyer’s market for UKCS sell-offs

Majors may want to accelerate their North Sea divestments. But they may also need to dance to acquirers’ tunes

The first analyst on UK independent Enquest’s half-year results call was not slow to raise the M&A point. Given comments made by BP about reducing its upstream positions, what opportunities did that give the smaller producer for acquisitions, he asked. Nor is BP likely the only major who may have UK continental shelf (UKCS) assets to sell. Speculation also surrounds potential buyers for ExxonMobil’s portfolio of non-operated UK North Sea assets. But, while the sellers may prefer to get rid of their portfolios in as few transactions as possible—something ExxonMobil managed to achieve with the two tranches of Norwegian continental shelf assets it shifted to private-equity backed Var Ener



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