JX Nippon Yet to Make Decision on North Sea Asset Sale

JX Nippon Exploration and Production Ltd. is considering selling its U.K. North Sea assets as it conducts a review of its global portfolio, but hasn’t yet made a final decision, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

It follows the retreat of other Japanese firms from the aging basin, including Marubeni Corp., which is conducting its own sales process. It adds to an uptick in deals in the U.K. North Sea this year, with companies such as BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. selling assets to an array of newcomers.

Preparations for a potential sale include JX’s stakes in Mariner and Culzean -- among the newest large oil and gas fields in the basin -- which are operated by Equinor ASA and Total SE respectively, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The assets could be valued at as much as $2 billion, one of the people said. Discussions are in early stages and no final agreements have been reached, they said.

Bank of America Corp. and Kirk Lovegrove & Co., a London-based oil and gas advisory firm, have been hired as advisers, the people said. Bank of America declined to comment, while KLC didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Japanese firm, whose parent company is ENEOS Holdings Inc., also has stakes in oil and gas fields including Kinnoull, Brae and Andrew. The assets produce more than 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the U.K. Oil and Gas Authority.

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