Posted by marketwatch on April 02, 2002 at 17:21:57:
Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, today agreed to buy Enterprise Oil, Britain's biggest independent explorer, in a deal worth £4.3bn.
Enterprise will add around 6% to Shell's oil and gas production and boost its presence in the North sea as well as in Italy and Brazil. The firm, which taps oil from 41 oil fields, largely in the North sea, reported pre-tax profits of £667.8m last year.
Enterprise was the subject of takeover speculation earlier this year. The Italian oil and gas group, ENI, was thought to be the most likely buyer, having previously bought another UK-based independent, Lasmo Oil. TotalFinaElf, the French oil giant, also expressed interest in buying the UK exploration company.
The UK government had expressed concern at the prospect of a foreign takeover of Enterprise. In January, the energy minister, Brian Wilson, said a takeover of Enterprise by a foreign firm, could lead to the under-exploitation of North Sea oil reserves.