US-based petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company Marathon Oil has started the sale process of its UK North Sea oil and gas fields.

By offloading these North Sea oil and gas fields, Marathon Oil aims to focus on onshore shale production in the US, reported Reuters, which had seen the sale document.

With the latest move, Marathon Oil would join a number of other firms such as Chevron, ConocoPhillips and EOG Resources that have decided to exit the North Sea and focus on shale production.

The planned assets disposal includes BP-operated Foinaven fields, located in the West of Shetland area, in addition to interests in the Brae complex, northeast of Aberdeen.

Marathon Oil has selected Jefferies to manage the sale process for which bids are due by December this year. The sale of these assets is expected to bring in up to $200m for the firm.

“Marathon Oil produces a total of 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the North Sea and has a resource of 31 million barrels.”

Declining to comment directly on the sale, Marathon Oil spokeswoman Lee Warren told Reuters: “Portfolio management is an ongoing and integral element of our successful business model as we continue to simplify and concentrate our portfolio to our highest return opportunities with a focus on our differentiated position in the US resource plays.”

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Marathon Oil produces a total of 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the North Sea and has a resource of 31 million barrels. Its North Sea assets are estimated to provide $85m of cash flow in 2019.

Besides holding stakes in pipelines, Marathon Oil owns a 40% stake in the Brae Area complex.

In the producing fields of Foinaven and Foinaven East, Marathon Oil owns 28% and 47% stakes, respectively.

Earlier this year, Marathon Oil signed an agreement with Total to divest its Libyan assets for $450m.