Let’s say you’re the UK’s largest oil and gas producer recording 208 MBOED in global volumes of which 90% is from the North Sea. Last year you posted $2.4 billion in profits. But along came a new windfall tax and, suddenly, that $2.4 billion in profits just became $8 million. What do you do? If you’re Linda Cook, CEO of Scotland-based Harbour Energy, you get fed up. Then you get fired up.
Reese Energy Consulting today is following the latest buzz surrounding Harbour and Houston-based Talos Energy, both independent offshore producers that are purportedly in talks to merge. Talos is one of the largest operators in the Gulf of Mexico with 1.2 million gross acres and 68 MBOED in production.
The two companies also happen to be partners on Zama, a mega oilfield offshore Mexico which Talos discovered in 2017 with estimated production of up to 180 MBPD—more than 10% of Mexico’s current oil production. In an unexpected move, Talos in late May sold its 49.9% interest in the company’s Talos Mexico subsidiary, which holds a 17.4% stake in Zama. Talos will still operate. The buyer at $124.75 million is Carlos Sim, the country’s wealthiest businessman at $90 billion.
Harbour Energy’s Linda Cook, meanwhile, has made no bones about her displeasure over the UK’s tax levy, which has resulted in large staff cuts and significantly reduced operations in the North Sea. A Talos acquisition would offer Harbour a second core region. And a place on the NYSE.