Norway's Equinor may buy UK oilfields from CNOOC - sources

Norwegian energy company Equinor's flag is seen at its headquarters in Stavanger, Norway, December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

OSLO/LONDON Oct 17 (Reuters) - Norway's Equinor (EQNR.OL) is considering buying oilfields in the British North Sea from China's CNOOC (0883.HK), including a big stake in the huge Buzzard oilfield, two industry sources told Reuters on Monday.

The deal is valued at between 20 billion and 30 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.9 billion-$2.8 billion), and might close as swiftly as the end of this year, Norwegian newspaper DN reported earlier on Monday, citing unnamed sources.

The assets come with so-called tax losses, meaning the owner of the fields can offset past losses against future tax bills, one source said.

"As a matter of principle, we never comment on rumours and speculation," an Equinor spokesperson told Reuters when asked about the DN report. CNOOC also declined to comment.

In March Reuters, citing four sources, reported CNOOC had hired Bank of America to start preparing a formal sale of its North Sea assets, potentially raising more than $3 billion.

Reuters reported in April that the Chinese offshore oil and gas major was preparing to exit its operations in Britain, Canada and the United States because of concerns in Beijing the assets could become subject to Western sanctions.

CNOOC acquired the North Sea assets as part of its $15 billion purchase of Canadian producer Nexen in 2013.

($1 = 10.6311 Norwegian crowns)

Reporting by Nora Buli, Ron Bousso, Shadia Nasralla; Additional reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Jan Harvey

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