Total buys $7.45bn Maersk Oil in North Sea push

Maersk operated the massive Culzean field

France’s Total is to buy Maersk’s oil and gas business in a roughly $7.45 billion deal which Total said would boost its North Sea operations and lift earnings.

The deal will see Total take control of Maersk’s assets in the UK sector of the North Sea, including the massive Culzean gas field.

For Denmark’s A.P. Moller Maersk, the sale of Maersk Oil, with reserves equivalent to around 1 billion barrels of oil, fits with its strategy of focusing on shipping and other activities.

Total said the acquisition will make it the second largest operator in the North West Europe offshore region, the 7th largest oil and gas producing region globally.

“The transaction strengthens Total’s existing North Sea offshore producing business in UK and Norway,” said Total.

“The addition of Maersk Oil’s world class assets, including the operated UK gas field Culzean (49.99% Working Interest), close to the Elgin-Franklin hub operated by Total, and its stake in the giant Johan Sverdrup oil development (8.44% Working Interest) in Norway will bolster Total’s production profile in these countries.”

The Culzean field — 145 miles east of Aberdeen — was the largest hydrocarbon discovery in the UK North Sea for over a decade.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said: “This transaction delivers an exceptional opportunity for Total to acquire, via an equity transaction, a company with high quality assets which are an excellent fit with many of Total’s core regions.

“The combination of Maersk Oil’s North Western Europe businesses with our existing portfolio will position Total as the second operator in the North Sea with strong production profiles in UK, Norway and Denmark, thus increasing exposure to conventional assets in OECD countries.

“Internationally, in the US Gulf of Mexico, Algeria, East Africa, Kazakhstan and Angola there is an excellent fit between Total and Maersk Oil’s businesses allowing for value accretion through commercial, operating and financial synergies …

“By adding such a portfolio of growing conventional offshore North Sea assets, we confirm our strategy for value creation of, on the one hand, playing to our core strengths in order to grow further and, on the other hand, to constantly seek to lower our break-even by delivering significant synergies.

“This transaction will deepen and accelerate this strategy significantly, as Total will become a 3 Mboe/d major by 2019 to the benefit of all Total shareholders.”