BP Norge and Det norske agree to merge

BP Norge AS and Det norske oljeselskap ASA have agreed to merge through a share-and-cash transaction into an independent exploration and production company with more than 120,000 boe/d of production offshore Norway.

The main industrial shareholders will be Aker ASA, which owns 49.99% of Det norske, and BP. Aker will own 40% of the merged company, and BP will own 30%. Other Det norske sharholders will hold the remaining 30%.

Named Aker BP ASA, the new company will be based in Fornebuporten, Norway.

At yearend 2015, BP Norge had proved and probable reserves of 225 million boe. Its net average production from 13 licenses last year was 62,100 boe/d.

Det norske, Trondheim, had 498 million boe of proved and probable reserves last year and net average production from 84 licenses of 60,000 boe/d.

The company operates Alvheim, Volund, Vilje, and Jette oil and gas fields, which are on production, and Ivar Aasen oil and gas field, which is under development. It holds 20% and 22% interests in two of the three licenses encompassing giant Johan Sverdrup oil and gas field, which is under development.

Det norske will issue 135.1 million shares based on 80 krone ($9.74)/share to acquire BP Norge, including assets, a tax-loss carry-forward of $267 million, and a net cash position of $178 million.

Aker will acquire 33.8 million of those shares from BP at the same price. BP also will receive a cash payment of $140 million.

BP said all of BP Norge’s 850 employees will transfer to the new company. Det norske employed 530 workers at the end of last year.

Oyvind Eriksen, chairman of Det norske, will be chairman of the combined company. Karl Johnny Hersvik, Det norske chief executive officer, will have that position at Aker BP.

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