BP Is in Talks to Buy North Sea Oil Field Stake From JX Nippon

·1 min read

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc is in talks to buy JX Nippon Exploration and Production Ltd.’s stake in the North Sea Andrew Area oil and gas fields, according to people with knowledge of the matter, reversing an earlier plan to sell its own holding.

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The energy major had previously attempted to sell its share in the project to Premier Oil Plc, but the deal was scrapped following a reverse takeover of Premier by Chrysaor Holdings Ltd. While there’s no certainty BP will end up buying the stake, an acquisition would run counter to its approach to the aging North Sea, where the company has been offloading assets over the past decade.

JX Nippon, which said in May that it was considering selling all its U.K. North Sea assets, has also received bids for the other assets, one of the people familiar with the matter said. These include stakes in Mariner and Culzean -- among the newest large oil and gas fields in the area, the person said.

A representative for the Japanese firm said that it had yet to make a decision on whether it would sell its U.K. fields amid a review of its global portfolio. BP declined to comment on Thursday.

BP has been shrinking its presence in the North Sea. Earlier this year, it sold its interest in the Shearwater field to Royal Dutch Shell Plc. In 2017, it offloaded a key piece of energy infrastructure -- the Forties Pipeline System -- to Ineos AG, while in 2012 it sold a package of assets to Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. for $1.1 billion.

(Updates with JX Nippon comment in fourth paragraph.)

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