(Adds CEO quote, background)
LONDON, June 13 North-Sea focused oil producer EnQuest has agreed to take over ExxonMobil's share in the Malaysian Seligi oil field, expanding its production portfolio outside of its core UK market.
Upon completion of the deal, which is subject to regulator approval, EnQuest will become operator of the field and own 50 percent alongside Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas.
"We continue to look at the UK as our major hub, but because of these movements of companies back to North America we're seeing opportunities specifically in places like Malaysia," said EnQuest chief executive Amjad Bseisu.
His company specialises in maximising oil output from old fields by applying new technology that allows it to retrieve oil that is typically hard to reach.
As large oil majors look to divest late-life assets that have seen a decline in output, EnQuest sees an opportunity in snapping up old fields where it can apply its expertise.
The Seligi oil field, EnQuest's third Malaysian project, will boost the company's net production by around 5,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and add 11 million barrels of oil equivalent to its net reserves.
EnQuest plans to move "a dozen or so" staff, such as geologists and physicists, from the UK to Malaysia to help operate the Seligi field, Bseisu said.
"This acquisition follows from our recent partnership with Petronas on the Tanjong Baram field and is a significant expansion to our Malaysian operation," he added.
Shares in EnQuest were up 0.1 percent higher at 139.6 pence at 0947 GMT. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Paul Sandle and Sophie Walker)