Marathon Oil the latest US firm to leave North Sea

US-based Marathon Oil is the latest corporation to withdraw from the North Sea, as they look towards expanding their operations back home. They join counterparts like EOG Resources, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron, all of whom have pulled operations in recent years.

Sales documents acquired by Reuters indicate that the corporation intends to sell its interest in the Foinaven fields west of Shetland, and in Brae complex. The company plans to invest in onshore shale back in the US.

Sources have been cited as saying that the sale could net nearly $200 million. Financial consulting firm Jefferies is managing the assets, and bids are being accepted until December.

Lee Warren, spokesperson for Marathon Oil, did not directly respond to questions about the sale, merely stating: “Portfolio management is an ongoing and integral element of our successful business model as we continue to simplify and concentrate our portfolio to our highest return opportunities with a focus on our differentiated position in the U.S. resource plays.”

Marathon’s assets in the North Sea currently produce 15,000 bpd, and the output was close to 419,000 bpd during its second quarter. This is projected to result in a cash flow of $85 million in 2019, according to the sales documents.

Oil and gas mining operations in the British North Sea began in the ‘70s. Recently, smaller entities, who say they are able to extract more from the energy fields, have replaced industry veterans in the area. Marathon Oil owns 40% in the Brae Area, plus additional 28% stake in Foinaven and 47% stake in Foinaven East.

Marathon’s website indicates plans to direct 90 percent of the capital derived in 2018 to be focused on stateside shale production.

Marathon Oil also recently divested its Libyan stake at a price of $450 million to French oil firm, Total S.A.

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