London, UK | – Multinational oil major Royal Dutch Shell and Esso Exploration have signed a sales and purchase agreement to sell off their interest in the Anasuria cluster in the Central North Sea for $105million.
The move comes after the company announced in February last year it planned to sell its stake in the asset as it looked to focus on assets where it sees an opportunity for growth.
In a joint venture, the assets have been taken over by Hibiscus Petroleum and Ping Petroleum, in a first step for both companies to enter the UK market.
The Anasuria is located 175km east of Aberdeen in the UK Central North Sea and consists of a 100% interest in the FPSO, Teal, Teal South, Guillemot A fields and a 38.65% interest in the Cook
Both Hibiscus and Ping said the sale “brings two new entrants into the North Sea” and reflects the support of the UK Government to encourage “smaller independents to invest and revive the North Sea basin.”
Ken Pereira, managing director of Hibiscus, said: “This acquisition will complete our company’s strategy of acquiring a balanced portfolio of assets which includes exploration, development and producing assets within five years of listing our company.
“We will be able to cut our teeth as Operator in conjunction with Ping in one of the world’s foremost oil and gas production basins.
“The Anasuria Cluster has development potential for a company of the size of Hibiscus and provides us with an excellent foundation upon which we can build a significant North Sea presence.”
Shell has had a 50% equity share in the Anasuria with its joint venture partner Esso Exploration and Production UK Ltd.
A Shell spokeswoman said: “Shell can confirm that it has signed a Sales and Purchase Agreement with Ping Petroleum and Hibiscus Petroleum, for the sale of its interests in the Anasuria Cluster.
“The deal is subject to partner and regulatory approvals with completion expected in Q4 2015.
“This deal fits with Shell’s strategy to deliver strong shareholder value across our assets. The Anasuria cluster has entered a phase where it offers greater value to other companies than it does for Shell.”
The news comes the day after BP Plc said it would be investing $1billion in one of its cornerstone North Sea assets. The cash injection is expected to add 15 years to the project – nearly doubling the site’s lifespan.
The money will be funnelled into its Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) as part of a special life extension project, securing its future through to 2030.