Norway’s Equinor has agreed to divest its 51% operatorship stake in the North Platte deep water development project in the US Gulf of Mexico (GoM) to Shell for an undisclosed sum.

Upon the completion of the deal, Equinor will retain a 49% stake in the project, which straddles four blocks of the Garden Banks area, 275km off the coast of Louisiana, in water depths of approximately 1,300m.

To reflect the change in operatorship of the offshore project, the two parties plan to rename the North Platte development Sparta development.

Equinor and Shell will now review the already completed work for the project and will update its development plan.

The Norwegian firm acquired a 40% stake in the project in 2018 while the remaining stake was held by TotalEnergies, which also served as operator.

In February 2022, TotalEnergies exited the project, transferring all of its stake to Equinor.

Equinor US upstream, exploration and production international senior vice-president Chris Golden said: “Equinor has [a] long-term view of Sparta as a high-quality project with a clear strategic fit for the company. Sparta will strengthen our position in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as our overall role as a reliable energy supplier to the US.

“This is a development opportunity that is expected to add significant value with lower carbon emissions intensity. We are pleased to welcome Shell and look forward to sharing our experience and technology to move this valuable project forward.”

In a separate development, Equinor and Belgium’s Fluxys have agreed to build a 1,000km pipeline to transport CO₂ captured from industrial sources in Europe for permanent storage under the seabed on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The project will connect Belgium to Norway and is in the feasibility stage. An investment decision for the project is expected to be announced by 2025.

Earlier this month, Equinor announced that it had signed a deal with  British utility company Centrica to supply additional gas to the UK over the next three winters.