Harbour Energy agrees US$11.2bn deal for Wintershall Dea assets

Article by Kerry Hebden

UK OIL producer Harbour Energy has reached an agreement to acquire German rival Wintershall Dea for US$11.2bn in a move expected to transform the firm into one of the world’s largest independent oil and gas companies. 

The acquisition includes all Wintershall Dea’s upstream assets in Norway, Germany, Denmark, Argentina, Mexico, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria, but excludes its former business in Russia. Wintershall Dea’s CO2 capture and storage (CCS) licences in Europe are also included in the target portfolio. 

The new assets mean Harbour’s oil and gas production will rise from around 190,000 b/d to more than 500,000 b/d when the deal completes. 

Wintershall Dea is owned by chemicals giant BASF, and investor LetterOne, which was co-founded by sanction-hit Russian oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven. 

On completion of the deal, BASF will own 46.5% of Harbour’s ordinary shares. However, according to the Telegraph, the firm said it wants to exit the oil and gas industry, and so will look to dispose of those holdings in the coming years. LetterOne, meanwhile, will hold non-voting shares to ensure it has no governance role in the company.  

The deal marks the company’s fourth major acquisition since it was founded by private equity in 2014. In 2017, Harbour backed Chrysaor Holdings to acquire a package of UK North Sea assets from Shell for US$3bn, then two years later Harbour acquired ConocoPhillips UK North Sea for US$2.7bn. In 2021, through a reverse takeover, Chrysaor merged with Premier Oil to create Harbour Energy. 

Linda Z Cook, Harbour’s CEO, said that along with extending reserves, and enhancing margins and cash flow, the addition of Wintershall Dea’s assets also shifts the company’s portfolio towards natural gas. "I am proud of what we have achieved so far – a testament to the skill, hard work and commitment of our people – including our track record of safe and responsible operations and disciplined capital allocation, which have made this acquisition possible,” Cook said. 

Completion of the acquisition is expected in Q4 2024, and is subject to regulatory, antitrust, and foreign direct investment approvals, as well as Harbour shareholder approval. 

Article by Kerry Hebden

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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