Photo: Montrose area in the North Sea; Source: Repsol Sinopec

Report: Ithaca to buy Marubeni’s North Sea assets for $1 billion

North Sea-focused Ithaca Energy, controlled by Israel’s Delek, has reportedly agreed to acquire Marubeni’s oil and gas assets in the North Sea in a deal valued at $1 billion.

The report was shared by Reuters on Monday, citing industry sources. Following these reports, Offshore Energy reached has out to Ithaca, seeking confirmation and further details. However, a spokesperson for Ithaca told us the company “is not commenting on the market speculation”.

When it comes to Japan’s Marubeni and its main North Sea assets, the company has an interest in the Montrose Area operated by Repsol Sinopec Resources with a 58.97 per cent interest. Marubeni holds the remaining 41.03 per cent interest.

Reports of Marubeni’s plans to sell its North Sea business have been appearing since the beginning of this year when Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter, said the Japanese company could all but exit the U.K. North Sea, looking to sell the main oil and gas fields in the region.

According to Ithaca’s latest financial report, the company in July 2021 completed its refinancing programme, including the amendment and extension of its reserves based lending facility of $1.2 billion to 2026 and putting in place a new $625 million bond. The company noted that this programme would enable it to continue to pursue business growth ambitions and focus on production and projects. Its production in the first half of the year was 56,000 boe per day.

Ithaca’s net debt at the end of June 2021 was $1.01 billion, down from $1.07 billion at the end of MArch 2021, following a further repayment of RBL debt of $50 million.

It is worth reminding that Ithaca bought Chevron’s North Sea assets in late 2019 in a deal valued at about $2 billion. Through this deal, Ithaca added ten additional producing field interests to the existing portfolio, along with a wider portfolio of investment opportunities.

It is also worth mentioning in this context that Delek said last year it was exploring options to optimize Ithaca’s capital structure, including a potential initial public offering (IPO).

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