Total buys Maersk Oil in North Sea vote of confidence

Supermajor splashes the cash for Danish operator’s North Sea holdings

Total S.A. has agreed to buy the AP-Moller-Maersk Group’s oil and gas arm in a $7.45bn takeover announced this week.

The world’s fourth largest oil company will be acquiring Maersk Oil’s “entire organisation, portfolio, obligations and rights with minimal pre-conditions.”

Maersk’s hydrocarbons holdings equate to around a billion barrels of oil equivalent in assets from the North Sea to Kazakhstan.


A strong foundation  

Total’s purchase gives them an expanded footprint in some of the North Sea’s hottest property. 

Maersk has an 8.44 per cent stake in the Johan Sverdrup field, which contains between 1.9bn - 3bn barrels of oil equivalent.

north sea
According to the field’s major stakeholder, Statoil, Johan Sverdrup will be “one of the most important industrial projects in Norway in the next 50 years.”

By 2019, Johan Sverdrup will be pumping 440,000 barrels per day (bpd) rising to 660,000 bpd by 2022.

Maersk also owns the majority of the high-pressure/high-temperature Culzean gas field, which will be providing five per cent of the UK's total gas consumption by 2021.

A boost in North Sea confidence 

The announcement of Total’s acquisition represents a further vote of confidence in a region that has suffered greatly from the dramatic descent in oil prices.

Statoil has also renewed its commitment to North Sea revenues this month with two new drilling projects announced on extant fields, and the spudding of a well in the Barents Sea.

According to a survey commissioned by the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, business optimism finally returned into “positive territory with 38 per cent of contractors reporting that they are more confident than they were 12 months ago.”