Total has entered into an agreement to sell its stakes of 51% and 40% in the Martin Linge field and the Garantiana discovery, respectively, to Statoil for a sum of $1.45bn.

The transaction will see Statoil become the operator of both the fields, which are located on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). In Martin Linge field, Statoil will be raising its stake from 19% to 70%.

Petoro with a stake of 30% will be the only other stakeholder in Martin Linge field other than Statoil following the transaction.

Total Exploration & Production president Arnaud Breuillac said: “The forthcoming acquisition of the Maersk Oil portfolio, which will make Total the second largest operator in the North Sea, leads us to review our portfolio in this area so as to focus on the assets in which Total will be able to generate synergies and reduce their breakeven points.

“In this context, given that Martin Linge is Total's only operated asset in Norway, there is limited scope to optimize operations, whereas with Statoil’s leading operating position on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Statoil is in a better position to optimize this asset for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

In the Garantiana discovery, Statoil makes its entry for the first time in the oil field. The other partners in the Garantiana discovery are Det norske oljeselskap, Bridge Energy Norge and Svenska Petroleum Exploration, which all hold stakes of 20% each.

Statoil Norway Development & Production executive vice president Arne Sigve Nylund said: “This transaction adds competitive growth assets to our portfolio on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“The Martin Linge project features innovative solutions to enhance safety, capture value and reduce emissions, in line with our strategy. By leveraging Statoil’s operational experience and existing contracts, we can realise additional opportunities and synergies from these assets.”

Martin Linge is currently being developed west of the Statoil-operated Oseberg field, and is believed to hold recoverable resources of over 300 million barrels oil equivalent.

In July, Total announced that it would postpone the Martin Linge project to 2018 due to a fatal accident in May at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) Geoje yard in South Korea. The South Korean shipyard is where construction works related to the Martin Linge project were being undertaken.

Total, now expects the production from the Martin Linge field to begin in the first half of 2019.

On the other hand, Garantiana is located north of the Statoil-operated Visund field. It is estimated to have recoverable resource potential of 50-70 million barrels oil equivalent.

The transaction, which would need government approval apart from satisfying certain other conditions, is expected to be closed in 2018.

Image: Illustration of the Martin Linge development in the North Sea. Photo: courtesy of Statoil ASA.