Shell and Exxon Mobil are on the verge of finalising a deal to divest their jointly-controlled UK North Sea gas fields to Viaro Energy, reported Reuters, citing sources.  

The potential sale of the Clipper and Leman Alpha field clusters could be valued at approximately $500m (£395m).  

It signifies a continued shift away from the mature North Sea basin by major oil and gas companies to focus on more profitable projects.  

This sale would not only mark a retreat from the region for these oil giants but also dissolve the longstanding Esso joint venture between Shell and Exxon, which dates back to 1965. 

For Exxon, a US, Texas-based company, this move would finalise its exit from the North Sea, a region it has been involved in since 1964.  

The company previously divested the majority of its central and northern North Sea assets to Neo Energy in 2021. 

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While the deal is close to being finalised, sources indicate that its completion is not yet guaranteed.  

Shell, Exxon, and Viaro Energy have all refrained from commenting on the potential sale, the news agency said.  

Viaro Energy, a British independent producer, has been expanding its presence in the North Sea.  

Since acquiring RockRose Energy in 2020, Viaro Energy has engaged in several acquisitions, currently producing around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day and holding interests in over 30 fields. 

Despite the sale, Shell will remain a key player in the North Sea, operating multiple fields including the Penguins redevelopment and maintaining a stake in the BP-operated Clair field. 

This development comes as Chevron prepares to sell its remaining UK North Sea assets, signalling an end to its more than fifty-year presence in the basin.  

The UK’s oil and gas production has declined from its peak in the late 1990s of approximately 4.5mboed to around 1.2mboed in 2023.