More fears for region

Oil analysts say Shell’s asset sale will hit North Sea

ShellShell is to reduce its commitment to the North Sea, according to analysts’ interpretations of last week’s strategy statement.

The company told investors on Tuesday it will sell $30 billion of assets and pull out of up to 10 territories to tackle its debt burden. It said it will focus on mature assets in established oil regions.

The strategy is expected to save $1 billion (£690m) and 2,200 more jobs will be in addition to the 2,800 already announced.

Iain Reed at Macquarie tells a newspaper: “They must be thinking very seriously about coming out of the North Sea”.

This echoes concerns expressed last week in Daily Business following Shell’s statement.

It coincided with a forecast from Deloitte that oil and gas companies are looking to rationalise their portfolios and divest non-core assets in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), with private equity and specialist infrastructure funds likely purchasers.

Mr Reed, speaking to the Telegraph, appears to confirm Deloitte’s expectations by saying “various private equity funds” were already negotiating with Shell to buy up assets that are too small to be economic for the oil giant but could still offer value to smaller oil minnows.

Ashley Kelty, an oil analyst with Cenkos, tells the paper: “If they could get rid of all that they’d be quite happy to. The North Sea is in terminal decline.”




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