US oil major Kerr McGee has revealed plans to sell all of its North Sea assets to an Anglo-Danish consortium for around $3.5 billion. The sale represents a complete retreat by the US company from conducting business in the northern European fossil fuels hub.

According to new reports, Kerr McGee will sell its assets in the North Sea to Denmark’s A.P. Moeller-Maersk and UK utility Centrica Plc in order to cover share buy back costs. The divestment is expected to be completed within a month.

The sale will include all of the US oil producer’s assets in the area, which includes fields, partial stakes, properties and equipment. The business produces 63,000 barrels per day of oil and gas, mainly from the Gryphon, Janice, Leadon and Tullich fields. Moeller-Maersk will pay around $3 billion for interests in ten oil fields. Centrica will pay approximately $500 million for interests in four fields.

The sale represents a worrying and growing fear that, as North Sea production falls and exploration costs rise, major global energy companies are switching their attention elsewhere to potentially cheaper sources. For its part, Kerr McGee is expected to relocate part of its business to enticing new opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico, Canadian oilsands and Chinese Bohai Bay.