(Corrects Sverdrup investment cost in first paragraph)
OSLO, June 2 Energy firm Det norske
has agreed to buy Marathon Oil Corp's Norwegian business
for $2.1 billion in cash and has secured the financing needed to
pay for its share of the $20 billion Johan Sverdrup field in the
North Sea, it said on Monday.
Det norske, controlled by billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke,
said the deal would increase its output by around 80,000 barrels
a day, more than 20 times its current production, giving it
stakes in 13 more licences with 10 operatorships.
The deal transforms Det norske from an explorer with a heavy
capital budget to a major producer with significant cashflow and
also solves its financing problems, which have weighed on the
shares as investors worried about how it would pay for
developments like Sverdrup, the biggest North Sea find in
"Adjusted for (contingent recourses), you come down to a
price per barrel of around $17," said Oeyvind Hagen, an analyst
at brokerage ABG Sundal Collier. "On a comparable basis we had
assumed it to be around $15.8 per barrel. So this was on the
higher end. They are not buying cheap barrels here."
For Marathon, the deal is a mixed success as it received no
acceptable offers for its UK business, which has been for sale
since December, and the firm said it would retain those assets.
To pay for the deal, Det norske has secured a loan and was
also in talks with four banks over a seven-year, $2.75 billion
loan. It would also issue $500 million worth of shares in a
fully underwritten rights issue, with Aker ASA, its
biggest shareholder, agreeing to subscribe for 49.99 percent of
the new shares.
"With this equity issue, the company has secured the
financing of its current work programme until first production
from the Johan Sverdrup field," it added.
Det norske was advised by J.P. Morgan while Scotia Waterous
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi and Joachim Dagenborg, editing by