Total said to mull sale of Kurdistan oilfield interest

By Dinesh Nair and Laura Hurst on 12/4/2020

(Bloomberg) --Total SE is in talks to divest from an oil project in Iraqi Kurdistan, people familiar with the matter said, as it continues to offload assets in a bid to trim debt.

The French oil major is working with Jefferies Financial Group Inc. on the sale of its 18% stake in the Sarsang block, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The holding could fetch as much as $500 million, according to one of the people.

Deliberations are ongoing and no final decisions have been taken, the people said. Representatives for Jefferies and Total declined to comment.

Like its peers, Total has been selling assets to curb debt as plunging oil and gas prices sap earnings. It completed $1.1 billion in asset sales during the first nine months of the year, according to results covering the period. These included oil field assets in Brunei and the U.K., as well as a stake in a renewables subsidiary in France.

Total has owned its interest in the Sarsang block since it purchased A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S’s oil and gas unit for $7.45 billion, a deal that completed in 2018. The development is operated by Dallas-based HKN Energy Ltd., with Total and the Kurdistan Regional Government the other stakeholders. It holds more than 350 million barrels of reserves, according to a Wood Mackenzie report.

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