Exploration

Bidders said to emerge in BP’s $7 billion U.S. shale asset sale

LONDON (Bloomberg) — BP Plc’s sale of a portfolio of U.S. onshore shale assets worth a combined $7 billion is progressing, with suitors preparing bids for parts of the portfolio, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The London-based energy conglomerate has received interest from energy producers Hilcorp Energy Co. and Enduring Resources in its operations in Colorado’s San Juan Basin, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the information is private. Those operations are valued at about $2 billion, the people said.

Warburg Pincus is among groups interested in BP’s assets in the Anadarko and Arkoma Basins in Oklahoma, the people said. KKR & Co. is also looking at multiple assets BP is shopping, the people said. The private equity firms could combine some of the assets with companies they own that have operations in fields BP is looking to exit, the people said.

Representatives for BP, KKR and Warburg Pincus declined to comment. Representatives for Hilcorp and Enduring Resources did not respond to requests seeking comment.

BP is paring its U.S. onshore business — BPX Energy — to pay down debt following its $10.5 billion purchase of BHP Billiton Ltd.’s U.S. shale fields last year. It plans to sell $10 billion worth of assets over the next two years, CFO Brian Gilvary said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

The U.S. energy mergers and acquisition market remains busy, despite volatile commodity prices. Royal Dutch Shell Plc is in talks to buy Endeavor Energy Resources LP for as much as $8 billion, people familiar with the matter said in December. QEP Resources Inc. has engaged an adviser to explore a potential sale, it announced in February.

By KIEL PORTER, KELLY GILBLOM AND DINESH NAIR

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