Royal Dutch Shell Plc, shedding assets to pay for its takeover of BG Group Plc, is in talks to sell its interest in a Gulf of Mexico oilfield to Focus Oil, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal could value Shell’s stake in the Caesar Tonga field at about $1.3 billion, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. A deal hasn’t been completed and negotiations could still fall apart, they said.
Shell has a 22.5 percent working interest in Caesar Tonga, with the rest owned by companies including field operator Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Equinor ASA and Chevron Corp., according to company filings.
A sale could further Shell’s efforts to dispose of mature assets to free up cash for shareholder returns and to improve growth prospects, as well as help pay down debt after it spent more than $50 billion buying BG Group in 2016. Shell said it would divest $30 billion in assets to pay for that deal. When it released its second-quarter results in July, it said it was about $2.5 billion away from achieving that goal.
Shell declined to comment. Houston-based Focus Oil and Anadarko didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Caesar Tonga consists of three separate discoveries in the southern Green Canyon portion of the gulf that were made from 2003 to 2007, according to information from energy consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. Production began in 2012, with Anadarko estimating at the time that the field held as much as 400 million barrels of oil equivalent in resources.
Focus Oil was founded in 2015 and is led by Chief Executive Officer Brady Rodgers, who previously worked as an engineer and energy banker. The company focuses on deep-water resources and targets “the top 50 oil fields for acquisition, the crown jewels of major oil company portfolios,” according to its website.