Royal Dutch Shell is reportedly set to sign a deal to sell $3bn worth of its North Sea oil and gas assets to North Sea-focused oil company Chrysaor.

Chrysaor, which is backed by private equity firm EIG Partners, is in talks and reportedly nearing a deal with shell to purchase older oil and gas fields, new developments and infrastructure.

In UK’s North Sea, Shell operates older fields including the Brent project.

The sale is a part of the Shell’s effort to reduce its debt, which was increased following its acquisition of BG Group for $54bn in 2016.

By 2018, the firm intends to sell about $30bn worth of assets, reported Bloomberg.

The deal allows Chrysaor, which secured approval from the UK Oil and Gas Authority regulator to operate fields in the North Sea, to take over the operatorship of Shell’s several fields in the North Sea.

Additionally, Chrysaor will take over the hundreds of employees from Shell and BG Group.

Reuters cited banking sources as saying that in recent months, several companies including A.P. Moller-Maersk, petrochemical giant Ineos and private equity fund Carlyle Group were looking to acquire Shell's North Sea portfolio.

Shell is seeking to divest assets including non-operating stake in Buzzard north of Aberdeen, and a 55% stake in the BP-operated Schiehallion oilfield located 180km west of the Shetland Islands.

Other assets considered for sale include the Nelson, Armada, Everest, Lomond and J Block fields as well as Shell's interest in the Statoil-led Bressay development.

Image: Royal Dutch Shell’s headquarters in Den Haag, Netherlands. Photo: courtesy of P.L. van Till at nl.wikipedia.