Equinor to explore $1 billion sale of Azerbaijan oil assets

Dinesh Nair and Laura Hurst, Bloomberg August 21, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Equinor ASA is exploring the sale of its operations in Azerbaijan, including a stake in the country’s largest oil project, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil field
Courtesy of bp

The Norwegian energy company is working with Jefferies Financial Group Inc. to gauge buyer interest in the assets, which includes a 7.27% interest in the large Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil field, the people said. A deal could value the assets at about $1 billion, they said.

Operated by bp Plc, the ACG field on the Caspian Sea is Azerbaijan’s largest oil project. It pumped some 10.6 million tons of crude in the first seven months of this year, government data show.

Other stakeholders in the field include ExxonMobil Corp., Azerbaijan’s state energy company Socar and Japan’s Inpex Corp. Under the terms of an existing contract, Equinor must offer Socar first refusal on its stake.

Bids for the Equinor assets are due in the coming weeks, according to the people. Deliberations are ongoing and there’s no certainty they’ll result in a deal, they said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Equinor has stakes in other exploration and development fields in the Caspian Sea, as well as in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline, according to its website.

Spokespeople for Equinor and Jefferies declined to comment, while a representative for Socar didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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