Total to buy Maersk Oil for $5 billion

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Moller-Maersk has secured the separation of the first of its four energy divisions as part of the Danish giant's move to exit the oil business.

As part of the deal, Maersk will get $4.95 billion worth of Total shares, which is equivalent to around 3.8 percent of Total's share capital.

Total's share price was up 0.5 per cent at the time of writing in a modestly falling market. In other words, the deal will make the French oil company northwest Europe's second-largest offshore operator.

Maersk Oil began operations in 1962 when A P Møller-Maersk won the right to drill for oil in North Sea, and in 1975 the company was given the right to develop oil fields in Denmark.

Denmark will become the regional hub for all Total's operations in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, based on Maersk Oil's capabilities and strong position in the North Sea region.

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The acquisition will transform Total into the second-largest operator in the North Sea.

"It will further shift Total's weighting towards OECD regions, a core strategic driver for the company as it looks to balance the portfolio away from areas of high above ground risk", says Kretzschmar.

He said that once completed in the first quarter of 2018, the deal would generate some $400 million in cost savings and other synergies each year, which would immediately help to increase the combined group's cash flow and earnings per share. For example, in January 2016, oil prices fell below $30 per barrel in the worldwide markets for the first time in 12 years, amid fears of a stall in China's growth. Crude oil prices remain stuck at about $50 a barrel - half the level three years ago - and some notable traders see the outlook for 2018 weakening. Neither TOTAL S.A. nor any of its subsidiaries assumes any obligation to update publicly any forward-looking information or statement, objectives or trends contained in this document whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Maersk shares were up around 3.4%. The deal has been approved by both companies' boards but remains subject to shareholder votes and regulatory approvals.

"Total is acquiring a deep specialist in unlocking complex reservoirs and boosting recovery factors through enhanced oil recovery techniques", Dr Kretzschmar said.