Ithaca Energy has reportedly agreed to acquire oil and gas assets in the North Sea from Japan’s Marubeni in a deal worth approximately $1bn.

The deal has been reported by Reuters citing industry sources.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Marubeni was working with Jefferies Financial Group to divest its non-operated stake in the MonArb area (Montrose Area) in the Central North Sea.

Located in blocks 22/17, 22/18, 22/22 and 22/23, approximately 200km east of Aberdeen, the Montrose Area comprises the Montrose, Arbroath, Arkwright, Brechin, Wood, Godwin, Shaw and Cayley fields.

Repsol Sinopec Resources UK (Talisman Sinopec Energy UK) operates the MonArb area with a 58.97% stake while the remaining stake is held by Marubeni Oil & Gas (UK).

In the first three quarters of 2020, the MonArb fields produced 24,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, according to the UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).

Marubeni also owns 5% to 8% stakes in the North Sea Columba fields. These fields have a combined production capacity of 3,500 barrels of oil equivalent a day, according to Bloomberg.

The assets sale by Marubeni would follow the retreat of other Japanese firms, including Idemitsu Kosan and Itochu, from the basin.

Several energy and trading firms in Japan are also considering exiting operations from the ageing North Sea basin, reported Reuters.

In May 2021, Reuters cited sources as saying that Japan’s JX Nippon is seeking to divest its oil and gas assets in the UK North Sea.

The potential sale, which includes an interest in some of the basin’s biggest fields, could be valued up to $1.5bn, according to the sources.

In order to pursue business growth ambitions, Ithaca last month said it had refinanced a $1.225bn reserve-based lending facility and also placed a bond worth $625m.