September 8, 2008

GDF Suez in Talks to Buy Portfolio of North Sea Fields From Shell and ExxonMobil


GDF Suez has entered exclusive talks to buy a portfolio of producing fields in the Dutch North Sea from Shell and ExxonMobil for ?1bn (GBP808m), underlining the enthusiasm of international firms for the mature province.

The French energy giant said it expects to acquire working interests ranging from 30per cent to 60per cent in five producing fields, which would give the firm 3.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per year equity production.

If the deal is concluded, GDF Suez would become the largest exploration and production operator in the Dutch North Sea. The company would hope to be able to bring additional volumes onstream from existing fields and discoveries as well as exploiting what it termed "very promising exploration potential". The company said the acquisition could also enable it to become operator of two offshore pipelines in the Netherlands.

The proposed deal reflects the continuing appetite for North Sea assets of utilities that are keen to secure supplies of gas and oil for their energy supply businesses.

The assets GDF Suez wants to acquire were put on the block in October by NAM, the Dutch exploration and production business established by Shell and Esso in 1947.

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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