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Equinor (EQNR) Divests Azerbaijan Assets to State-Owned Socar

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Equinor ASA (EQNR - Free Report) , the Norwegian energy giant, announced on Friday that it has entered into an agreement to sell its assets in Azerbaijan to the state-owned energy firm SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic).

The deal encompasses Equinor's 7.27% non-operated interest in the Azeri Chirag Gunashli (ACG) oil fields, an 8.71% stake in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline and a 50% interest in the Karabagh field. The ACG oil fields, operated by BP plc (BP - Free Report) , stand as the largest in the Caspian basin, while the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline serves as a vital conduit for transferring crude oil to the Turkish Mediterranean coast.

Philippe Mathieu, Equinor's executive vice president for International Exploration and Production, emphasized that the divestment aligns with the company's broader strategy to focus on its international portfolio. He stated that Azerbaijan has played a crucial role in Equinor's international portfolio for the last 30 years. Collaborating with SOCAR and other partners in ACG has resulted in substantial value creation for the partnership as well as the Azerbaijani society.

Socar, being a state-owned energy company, is expected to further enhance its presence in the region through this acquisition. The completion of the transaction is subject to meeting specific conditions, including obtaining regulatory and contractual approvals.

Notably, Equinor and SOCAR have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concurrently with the divestment agreement. This MoU outlines a collaborative effort to share experiences and best practices in the realms of low-carbon solutions, greenhouse gas emission reduction and carbon management.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Equinor currently carries a Zack Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the energy sector are The Williams Companies, Inc. (WMB - Free Report) and Sunoco LP (SUN - Free Report) , each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Williams Companies is well-positioned to capitalize on the anticipated substantial long-term growth in U.S. natural gas demand, thanks to its impressive portfolio of large-scale projects that create significant value. The company’s debt maturity profile is in good shape with its $4.5-billion revolver maturing in fiscal 2023.

WMB’s earnings beat estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, delivering an average surprise of 13.68%.

Sunoco is among the biggest motor fuel distributors in the U.S. wholesale market in terms of volumes. By distributing more than 10 fuel brands via 10,000 convenience stores under long-term distribution contracts, the partnership will continue to generate stable cash flow. 

SUN’s earnings beat estimates in two of the trailing four quarters and missed twice, delivering an average surprise of 28.33%.

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