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Equinor to Boost US GoM Footprint via Caesar Tonga Purchase

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Equinor ASA (EQNR - Free Report) recently announced that the company has exercised preferential rights to obtain a 22.45% additional stake from Royal Dutch Shell plc in the Caesar Tonga oil field. Through this deal, Equinor will be able to increase its interest in the oil field, located in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GoM), from 23.55% to 46% for $965 million in cash.

Markedly, last month, Shell was thinking of offloading the 22.45% non-operated stake to a subsidiary of Delek Group Ltd., an Israeli conglomerate, for the same amount of cash. From Shell’s point of view, the latest deal is in line with its ongoing $10-billion divestment program, which followed the $30-billion divestment program in the 2016-2018 time frame. The proceeds from the Caesar Tonga divestment are expected to be directed toward more long-term value-generating assets.

Located 290 kilometers southwest of New Orleans, the oil field — which came online in early-2012 — is one of the biggest deepwater resources in the prolific GoM. Currently, Equinor’s net production from the field stands at 18,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The latest deal will further increase the company’s footprint in the productive basin. The transaction has an effective date of Jan 1, 2019. Notably, this year, it will start drilling the Monument prospect in the region.

While Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is the operator of the Caesar Tonga field with a 33.75% stake, Chevron Corporation (CVX - Free Report) holds the remaining 20.25% interest.

Price Performance & Zacks Rank

Equinor has lost 23% in the past year compared with 15.3% collective decline of the industry it belongs to. Currently, the company has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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