Exclusive: Shell Energy transition prompts talks to sell Norwegian business


  • Shell, Harbor Energy held talks at the end of last year
  • Talks have included Norway, Italy and some UK properties.
  • Shifting Shell’s focus to low-carbon, renewables

LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Shell ( Shell.LL ) and Harbor Energy ( HBR.L ) discussed selling Norwegian oil and gas fields last year, but due to gas price volatility and long-term uncertainty He could not reach an agreement. Three company sources told Reuters.

London-based Shell has said it will focus its oil and gas operations on nine basins around the world, amid increasing internal competition between assets as it plans to gradually reduce oil and gas output and cut renewable and low-carbon operations. Greenhouse gas emissions.

After more than 110 years of sales of Norway’s shale oil and gas portfolio, the retreat from the North Sea continues as big energy companies focus their investments on new and more profitable basins.

Shell and Harbor Energy declined to comment.

Talks with Britain’s biggest North Sea producer, Harbor Energy, peak at the end of 2022, the sources said, just as Norway consolidated its position as Europe’s top natural gas supplier after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Shell and ConocoPhillips ( COP.N ) are the last two oil producers operating offshore in Norway, while Total Energies ( TTEF.PA ) only holds stakes in inactive fields.

The deal with Harbor Energy includes Shell’s smaller operations in Norway and Italy and several older assets in the British North Sea, the sources said.

Shell’s new CEO, Wael Sawan, who replaced Ben Van Beurden on January 1 after nine years in the job, is not currently evaluating these assets, two of the sources said.

Wind phone tax

Harbor Energy, led by chief executive Linda Cook, is looking to expand operations beyond the British North Sea after the government imposed a 35% wind reduction tax on oil and gas producers. .

Shell’s hopes of expanding its oil and gas production in Norway were hit hard last year after partners failed to agree on the development of the Linnorm gas discovery as an independent field, sources said. It is also a partner in the Ormen Lange Phase 3 project, the country’s second largest gas field.

British rival BP ( BP.L ) owns all of its offshore assets in Norway with a minority stake in independent Norwegian producer Aker BP. in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Beyond oil and gas, Shell is involved in a number of major renewable and low-carbon projects in Norway, including offshore wind blocks, a biofuel plant and the Northern Lights carbon storage and utilization project.

According to Shell’s annual report, it has 21 Norwegian oil and gas production licenses by the end of 2021, including 17.8% from the Ormen Lange, 45% from the Knarr field and 8.1% from the Troll oil field.

It produced 13,400 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and 490 million standard cubic feet (scf/d) in Norway in 2021, which is about 7% of the company’s total gas production.

Reporting by Ron Busso; Edited by Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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