Published: Tue, August 22, 2017
Money | By Charlene Sutton

Solution sought for supply ship unit as Maersk sells oil business

Solution sought for supply ship unit as Maersk sells oil business

Total will maintain Maersk Oil's strong position in the North Sea with Copenhagen and Esbjerg bases and with Denmark being the operating hub for Total's combined operations in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.

The move is the latest in a wave of consolidation that has gripped the sector in recent years in response to the low oil price.

Maersk Oil is the first of the four energy companies in AP Moller-Maersk for which a structural solution has now been identified. Altogether, the Maersk Group has received shares for United States dollars 4.95 billion in the French oil company, corresponding to a 3.76 percent ownership share.

Total said it expected to generate operational, commercial and financial synergies of more than $400 million annually by combining the assets of the two firms.

Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said when releasing results last month his company could "take advantage of the low-priced environment" by taking on new resources.

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The transaction is expected to close in first quarter 2018 and has an effective date of 1st July 2017. Total announced on July 27 a first-half net income of $4.8 billion, up from $3.7 billion in the same period a year ago.

Maersk Oil will strengthen the French company's output with the addition of 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent to its daily total as of next year, seen to grow to over 200,000 bpd in the early years of next century.

Until Total's deal on Monday, numerous acquirers were private-equity firms and smaller players, eager to get a foothold major oil hubs like the North Sea.

Total will take over Maersk Oil's entire organization, portfolio, obligations and rights with minimal pre-conditions.

The boards of Total and A.P. Møller-Mærsk, the parent company of Maersk Oil, have approved the purchase.

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For Total, the deal builds on its large existing presence in the North Sea and means it will become the second-largest exploration firm in the region, behind Norway's Statoil.

Total said an "exceptional overlap" of businesses would increase its competitiveness through growing assets and annual cost-savings.

Total recently announced a plan to invest $3.5 billion over five years in an offshore Qatar oilfield, and has invested in Brazil's deep-water oilfield projects. "Some of Maersk North Sea technology can be useful in the Middle East, such as the tools for drilling and extracting from chalk areas", he said.

Total's shares fell modestly on Monday morning, with stocks trading down about 0.2%.

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