By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com – Oil super-major Shell is leaving the Permian with a divestment worth close to US$10 billion. The company said it will sell its assets in the shale play to ConocoPhillips for a total price of US$9.5 billion.
After reviewing multiple strategies and portfolio options for our Permian assets, this transaction with ConocoPhillips emerged as a very compelling value proposition, said Wael Sawan, Upstream Director at Shell.
This decision once again reflects our focus on value over volumes as well as disciplined stewardship of capital. This transaction, made possible by the Permian team's outstanding operational performance, provides excellent value to our shareholders through accelerating cash delivery and additional distributions.
There is a big chance the decision to exit the Permian has a lot to do with a Dutch court ruling from earlier this year that ordered Shell to reduce its carbon footprint considerably. The court orders Royal Dutch Shell... to reduce its CO2 output and those of its suppliers and buyers by the end of 2030 by a net of 45% based on 2019 levels, said the court in May.
Divestments immediately emerged as the most realistic way for Shell to comply with the court order, although, as chief executive, Ben van Beurden said at the time, just because Shell sells oil assets, it would not mean that global emissions would fall because someone else will be developing these assets. In the case of the Permian, this will be Conoco, a company with a solid presence in U.S. shale already.
According to Bloomberg, the deal will make ConocoPhillips one of the largest Permian players as its new Permian assets will give it an additional daily production in 2022 of about 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent.
Shell said it will use the proceeds from the deal to distribute some US$7 billion among shareholders in additional cash return, with the remainder used for further strengthening of the balance sheet. The all-cash deal is expected to close by the end of the year.