Norwegian oil firm Aker BP ASA said Dec. 4 it had agreed to sell 10% stakes in two North Sea fields to private equity-backed Pandion Energy AS for an undisclosed amount to help pay for expansion plans in the area.
The deal will leave Aker BP with 90% stakes in both the Valhall and Hod fields, and will help pay for projects such as the Valhall Flank West, estimated to come onstream in 2020.
A previously announced intention to reduce Aker BP's stake to around 67% was unchanged, a company spokesman said.
Brokerage Sparebank 1 Markets said the deal could be worth some $117 million to $143 million, but the company declined to comment on the amount.
"We would expect at least one more Vallhall/Hod deal to be announced in the short term," Sparebank 1 Markets said in a note to clients.
Aker BP in October announced a $2 billion deal to buy Hess Corp.'s (NYSE: HES) 64.05% stake in the Valhall Field and 62.5% in Hod, raising its ownership to 100%, but added it would seek a partner for the licenses.
"After we announced the Hess transaction, we have seen strong interest to partner with Aker BP in the Valhall area. Through this transaction, we get a partner that shares our ambition of developing the upside potential in these fields," Aker BP CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik said in a statement.
Pandion in June won permission from Norway's energy ministry to hold oil and gas licenses and is backed by private equity fund manager Kerogen Capital.
Aker BP's top owners are Norwegian investment firm Aker ASA with a 40% stake and BP Plc (NYSE: BP) with 30%.
The original Hess transaction and the Pandion deal are both subject to customary approvals by regulators, which Aker BP said it expected to receive by the end of 2017.
Norway has a policy of requiring more than one partner in each license to safeguard and promote checks and balances, although there is no specific limit on the maximum allowed ownership, an energy ministry spokesman said.