Norway-based private equity company HitecVision is reportedly planning to sell its UK North Sea oil and gas production unit Verus Petroleum.

Investment bank Jefferies has been hired to run the divestment process, which is expected to fetch $500m, Reuters reported citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

After securing a 12-fold increase in its production from 1,500 to 18,000 barrels a day in less than a year via drilling and key acquisitions in the UKCS, Verus Petroleum announced its plans to move on to a new phase of growth last December.

“Last year, Verus Petroleum production averaged 15,500boed at an average cost of $11 a barrel.”

In September 2018, Verus Petroleum signed a $400m agreement to acquire ITOCHU’s wholly owned North Sea subsidiary Cieco Exploration & Production (UK).

Prior to this, Premier Oil signed a sale and purchase agreement to sell its stake in the Babbage Area to Verus Petroleum in May 2018.

The deal involved the acquisition of a 23.1% interest in the Western Isles Development Project, a 25.8% interest in the Hudson field, a 2% interest in the Brent Pipeline System, and a 1.2% interest in the Sullom Voe oil terminal.

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Last year, Verus Petroleum production averaged 15,500boed at an average cost of $11 a barrel. The company primarily focuses on the UKCS.

The latest sale process by HitecVision comes as various other companies, including Chevron, Total and ConocoPhillips are also trying to sell their assets in the basin.

Launching Verus Petroleum in 2014, HitecVision declined to comment on the deal.