ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil producer, is exploring the sale of some its North Sea assets in Norway as it seeks to divest overseas operations, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Houston-based oil and natural gas producer may sell Norwegian assets that are operated by others including stakes in the Aasta Hansteen, Alvheim and Grane fields, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Conoco, which is running the disposal without advisers, has contacted potential buyers, they said. If sold together, all three stakes may fetch as much as $1 billion, one of the people said.
U.S. producers are increasingly offloading overseas assets to focus on domestic opportunities amid a sharp drop in oil prices. ConocoPhillips is working with Bank of Nova Scotia on the sale of about 20 percent of its production in Western Canada outside of the oil sands. Other large producers including EOG Resources Inc., Apache Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. have sold international assets.
Global oil companies are also selling peripheral businesses. BP Plc is seeking buyers for as much as $2 billion of U.S. pipelines and storage terminals, according to people familiar with the matter.
ConocoPhillips first applied for a license to hunt for oil on the Norwegian shelf more than 50 years ago in 1962, according to its website. Its assets include four operated fields in the southern part of the North Sea as well as several fields operated by its peers.
A representative for ConocoPhillips declined to comment. ConocoPhillips fell 0.4 percent to $67.63 today, giving the company a market value of about $83 billion.