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Exclusive: Exxon, Shell close to sale of California oil and gas venture Aera – sources

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  • Companies in advanced talks to sell Aera’s oil and gas business
  • Shell aims to exit aging California operations after 2021

HOUSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – ExxonMobil (XOM.N) has joined in seeking the sale of its joint venture Aera with Shell (SHEL.L). An oil and gas producer, three of his people familiar with the matter said.

Demand for oil assets has increased as energy prices soared this year and listed companies wind down old operations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Exxon and Shell have said they intend to focus on larger oilfield and liquefied natural gas projects.read more

According to its website, Aera is one of California’s largest oil producers, producing 125,000 barrels of oil and 32 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The business generates approximately $1 billion in cash annually, with transactions worth billions of dollars.

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Exxon and Shell declined to comment.

A year ago, Reuters reported that Shell was considering exiting a joint venture that primarily operates in central California’s San Joaquin Valley.read more

Exxon has joined the effort, and the two, with the help of financial advisor JPMorgan Chase & Co., are in talks with several potential buyers, some of whom have bid independently, according to sources. Others are bidding in consortiums.

JP Morgan declined to comment.

Shell and Exxon have sold older properties and used the proceeds to pay down debt and invest in new areas. Shell began selling his 30% stake in the Kambo oil deposit in the British North Sea earlier this month, according to Reuters, while Exxon has cut its holdings worldwide.read more

Exxon could reach the goal it set four years ago to sell $15 billion in assets. The company says it wants to focus on offshore and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Guyana, Brazil.

Exxon disclosed divestments worth more than $3 billion in the second quarter of this year, including in Texas, Canada and Romania. This quarter, the company told Reuters it had agreed to sell its shale gas assets in Arkansas.read more

The US oil producer has been putting assets on the market in the UK North Sea and Africa, and last year completed a $1.1 billion sale of its US chemical business.read more

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Reported by Sabrina Valle of Houston, David J. French of New York and Shariq Khan of Bangalore. Edited by Gary McWilliams, Rosalba O’Brien, Richard Pullin

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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