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Lloyds List: Auk, Fulmar and Dunlin to leave the nest: “SHELL and ExxonMobil are selling their interests in the Auk, Fulmar and Dunlin production platforms in the UK North Sea.” ( 26 April 05


Martyn Wingrove

Apr 26, 2005


SHELL and ExxonMobil are selling their interests in the Auk, Fulmar and Dunlin production platforms in the UK North Sea.


The two oil majors are looking to offload three production assets that are in their late-life phases and have declining production profiles, which represent 2% of Shell's North Sea output.


Together they are selling the Auk production platform, one of the UK's oldest, producing since December 1975, and the nearby Fulmar field that started pumping oil in February 1982.


Additionally, they are selling their interest in the Dunlin field in the northern North Sea, that came on-line in 1978, plus interests in Dunlin satellites Merlin and Osprey subsea fields.


Together the Dunlin cluster was pumping out around 12,300 barrels of oil per day in January, while Auk's output was 5,000 bpd and Fulmar was producing 2,900 bpd, according to Platts figures.


Shell's own estimate shows all assets on sale are currently producing around 10,000 bpd, said a spokesman.


Kieron McFadyen, Shell Exploration and Production Europe technical director, said: 'These assets could create opportunities for other companies to fulfil their growth ambitions in the industry while maintaining hydrocarbon production and employment in the UK.


'Shell remains committed to the North Sea as a core business area where we continue to make significant investment around $6-$7bn across our European operations between 2005 and 2007.'


North American independents Kerr-McGee and Talisman operate assets around Auk and Fulmar, which export oil via the Norpipe to a terminal on Teesside.


Canadian Natural Resources and Swedish oil firm Lundin operate assets, including the Murchison and Thistle platforms, close to the Dunlin cluster.


The Dunlin platform handles oil from these assets and exports crude to the Sullom Voe terminal in Shetland via the Cormorant system.


Shell has opened a data room in Aberdeen and will begin to speak with potential buyers this week.


It is willing to sell all assets in a single sale or to sell them individually.


London-listed oil firms Venture Production, Dana Petroleum and Paladin Resources, which have bought platforms off the oil majors over the last three years, are thought to be interested in these three assets, said analysts.


Meanwhile, ExxonMobil will be auctioning off its interest in Norsk Hydro's Fram development area in Norway.


It has appointed Indigo Pool to manage the sale, that will be completed in July.


- Italian oil major Eni is looking to sell its central North Sea assets around Dana's Barbara gas project.


Stallar Energy Advisors are managing the sale for Eni and have opened data rooms.


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