OSLO Norwegian oil company Statoil (STL.OL) and China's Sinochem agreed to buy the Peregrino floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel from Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), the companies said on Tuesday.
The parties did not disclose the terms of the deal, which was the result of a tanker conversion project begun in 2007 that involved over $1 billion in investment, the companies said.
The vessel, with storage capacity of 1.6 million barrels of oil, is working in the Campos Basin off Brazil where Statoil and Sinochem are partners in the Peregrino field.
It produced well over 15 million barrels during its first year of operation.
"We had an option to buy the ship by 2016, and we decided that it was a good time to do that as Maersk is reviewing its strategy," Statoil spokesman Bard Glad Pedersen said.
The head of Maersk FPSOs, a unit of Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk, said the sale was part of efforts to optimize the company's business and portfolio, which could include divestments if the timing and conditions are right.
"Maersk Peregrino is a very well performing unit and the sale to Statoil and Sinochem represents an opportunity with the right timing and the right buyer," Stig Hoffmeyer, CEO of Maersk FPSOs, said in a statement.
Contractor BW Offshore (BWO.OL) will take over operation of the FPSO after a transition period of about six months, Statoil said.
The transaction is expected to be completed during the third quarter 2012, Maersk FPSOs said and added: "The gain from the transaction will not have an impact on the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group's result."
Maersk FPSOs still owns two other FPSOs. In addition, it has one floating gas, storage and offloading unit and one jack-up production module.
(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; additional reporting by John Acher in Copenhagen; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)