Sinopec to buy stake in Talisman's UK North Sea assets

Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration & Production Co. will acquire a 49% equity interest in Talisman Energy Inc.’s UK North Sea business for $1.5 billion, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012.

Closing is set for the end of 2012, subject to regulatory approvals. Talisman Energy said the two companies together will invest more in the assets than Talisman would have on its own and that Talisman will use $500 million of the proceeds to repurchase its own shares.

The deal structure will be a corporate joint venture that will proportionately reduce Talisman’s share of capital spending, production, and abandonment liabilities.

Talisman said the joint venture plans to invest to improve ongoing operating performance, as well as infill drilling, exploration opportunities and major projects, extending field life and deferring decommissioning.

Talisman Energy UK, Aberdeen, will operate the assets, and Sinopec will appoint select personnel into key positions in the organization. No personnel reductions are expected. Talisman Energy UK has 564 full-time employees and 1,950 core contractors.

Talisman Energy entered the North Sea in 1994 and has operated and nonoperated interests in 46 fields. It operates 11 offshore installations and an onshore terminal. The portfolio includes opportunities for infill wells, project developments, and exploration.

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