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Acquisition-hungry Aker BP open to larger stake in Sverdrup

The acquisition of Hess Norway has hardly sated the appetite for acquisitions at Aker BP, which is looking at new growth opportunities on the Norwegian shelf. The company is open to boosting its share in the giant Johan Sverdrup oil field, says CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik to ShippingWatch.

Johan Sverdrup-feltet. PR-foto: Statoil Photo: PR-foto: Statoil

Oil and production company Aker BP took yet another step toward achieving its comprehensive growth ambitions with Tuesday's acquisition of Hess' Norwegian assets, says Chairman Øyvind Eriksen in a press release issued earlier today, Tuesday.

Aker BP is a partnership between Aker and BP in Norway.

We would naturally like to get as large a share as possible."

Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO Aker BP, on Johan Sverdrup
Meanwhile, CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik confirms to ShippingWatch that Aker BP is still interested in looking at new growth opportunities on the Norwegian shelf.

"I don't think it would be incorrect to assume that there may be additional acquisitions on the way from Aker BP. If you just look at the history, I think it is quite clear that there may be other acquisition targets," says Hersvik, adding:

"For us, key factors include the value per share. We have also been very clear about what our criteria are. We prefer oil over gas, we like assets, which have a significant untapped upside, and we like assets where we believe there are opportunities to implement Aker BP's improvement agenda."

Sverdrup is "the most attractive field"

The price for Hess Norway is expected to sit at approximately USD 2 billion, and with the acquisition Aker BP will become the sole owner of the Valhall and Hod fields, which the company also operates. The transaction will be financed via a banking facility and by issuing USD 500 million in shares.

In the Aker BP field portfolio, in which the company has ownership shares, the Johan Sverdrup field stands out.

Operator Statoil has previously described the field as one of the most important industry projects in the coming 50 years and the industry considers the potential to lie between 1.9 and 3 billion barrels of oil equivalents. Break-even prices have also been significantly slashed in recent years, while Lundin recently estimated that the price on the total field will be far below USD 25 per barrel.

The field is expected to enter production in 2019, and asked whether Aker BP is satisfied with its 11.57 percent share in the Johan Sverdrup field, Hersvik responds:

"We would naturally like to get as large a share as possible."

So this is the field where you are looking at increasing your share?

"Johan Sverdrup is the most attractive field on the Norwegian continental shelf," says Karl Johnny Hersvik to ShippingWatch, stressing that he will not comment on concrete processes.

We prefer oil over gas, we like assets, which have a significant untapped upside, and we like assets where we believe there are opportunities to implement Aker BP's improvement agenda.

Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO Aker BP
In Aker BP's latest report for the second quarter in July, he pointed out that the development of the field is going according to plan.

Statoil owns 40.03 percent of the field and is also the operator, while Lundin's Norwegian business sits on the second-largest share with 22.6 percent. Petoro, Aker BP, and Maersk Oil – which Total acquired earlier this year – have ownership shares in the field.

Aker BP is part of Kjell Inge Røkke's Aker group, which includes several service companies and suppliers such as Aker Solutions, Akastor, and Kvaerner.

Today, Aker owns 40 percent of Aker BP, while BP has 30 percent. The remaining stake is owned by other shareholders in Det Norske Oljeselskap.

English Edit: Lena Rutkowski

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