Exxon Norway Oil Assets Said to Lure Aker BP, Hitec Interest

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  • Offshore oil fields said to be valued at about $1 billion
  • Agreement could be reached before end of first quarter

Billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke’s Aker BP Plc and two private equity-backed companies are in talks to buy stakes in oil fields off Norway from Exxon Mobil Corp. that are valued at about $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Aker BP, HitecVision AS and Neptune Oil & Gas Ltd. are bidding for the assets and an agreement could be reached before the end of the first quarter, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

Aker BP, the result of this year’s $1.3 billion merger between Rokke’s Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA and the Norwegian unit of BP Plc, has said it’s seeking more acquisitions in Norway at a time when several oil majors are re-evaluating their position in the country after the collapse in crude prompted deep spending cuts. Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are considering selling part or all of their Norway assets, according to people familiar with the matter and media reports.

Aker BP, HitecVision, Neptune and Exxon all declined to comment.

Aker BP, which announced an oil discovery in the North Sea on Friday, rose 1.7 percent to 150.80 kroner as of 9:40 a.m. in Oslo trading. The stock is trading near record levels after rising more than 170 percent so far this year, making it the best performer on Oslo’s OBX Index. Exxon closed 0.7 percent higher on Thursday in U.S. trading.

Exxon, the world’s biggest oil company by market value, was said to be mulling the sale of Norwegian assets back in September. The Irving, Texas-based explorer operates the Ringhorne, Balder, Sigyn and Jotun fields, which produced the equivalent of 64,000 barrels of oil a day in 2015, according to its website.

Norway’s HitecVision controls oil companies such as Point Resources AS and CapeOmega AS. Neptune, the acquisition firm set up last year by Carlyle Group LP and CVC Capital Partners, was said earlier this year to be in talks with Engie SA about acquiring the French utility’s oil and gas business.

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