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Shell prepares North Sea sale after BG tie-up

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Danny Fortson: Published: Sunday 27 March 2016

SHELL has quietly begun sounding out buyers for parts of its sprawling North Sea operations amid a slump that has seen the industry shed tens of thousands of jobs.

Europe’s biggest oil company strengthened its presence in the basin just last month when it completed its blockbuster £35bn takeover of rival BG.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden is under pressure to justify the price and has pledged to sell up to $30bn (£21bn) of assets. Sources close to the situation said Shell has no plans to exit completely but could dramatically shrink its footprint.

It is understood that Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which has been hired to lead the process, has held early talks with potential buyers including Sam Laidlaw, the former Centrica boss who last year launched the $5bn Neptune Oil & Gas fund to buy energy assets.

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