Maersk looking at selling its Brazil oil, gas assets

FLORENCE (Italy) • Shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk is considering selling its oil and gas business in Brazil as its energy group narrows operations in a restructuring, its chief executive said.

While the group has given itself two years to decide on the exact strategy, Maersk Energy is clearly focusing on its two major developments that are planned to start production in 2019 - Culzean in the UK North Sea and the Johan Sverdrup in the Norwegian North Sea.

"We have said that we will focus on fewer geographies and certainly in the North Sea. Norway and the United Kingdom will be an area of focus for Maersk Oil," Maersk Energy CEO Claus Hemmingsen told Reuters, speaking on the sidelines of the GE Oil and Gas annual meeting.

Maersk's assets in Brazil's offshore Campos basin - a 20 per cent stake in the Wahoo field and a 27 per cent stake in Itaipu assets - appear "on the fringe" of the company's portfolio, Mr Hemmingsen said. "It is not being marketed but we are looking through the portfolio."

The current value of the assets was unclear. The Danish company acquired three Brazilian blocks from SK Energy for US$2.4 billion in July 2011 but in 2014, sold its stake in one and wrote down the value of the business by US$1.7 billion (S$2.4 billion).

Maersk is in the midst of a major restructuring to shift the company's focus to its transport and logistics businesses, and separate its energy business in the face of a drop in income.

Maersk Energy also plans to break up its oil and gas exploration and production business, known as Maersk Oil, and its three other services businesses - drilling, supply services and tankers.

Mr Hemmingsen said: "We have three service companies of which many are top quartile if not leaders in their sector... We have no intention to limit their presence in their global markets. However, there is little to speak of in terms of synergies so we actually believe three stand-alone companies will be the best outcome. That could be achieved by mergers or de-merging them, that has yet to be decided."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'Maersk looking at selling its Brazil oil, gas assets'. Print Edition | Subscribe