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Reuters: Talisman to buy Fulmar, Auk Fields in North Sea

CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) is expanding its holdings in one of its main North Sea operating areas by acquiring interests in two oil fields from Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research), Canada’s No. 3 independent oil explorer said on Tuesday.

Talisman didn’t disclose the price of the deal, which will add about 8,000 barrels a day of production, boosting 2007 output by less than 2 percent.

The acquisition includes an 85.8 percent interest in the Fulmar unitized field and a 100 percent stake in the Auk field in the Central North Sea.

Talisman already owns a 12.7 percent stake in Fulmar and has agreed to buy Hess Ltd.’s 1.5 percent interest. The transactions will give it full ownership.

The price tag is “not material” for Talisman, spokesman David Mann said.

“It’s just business as usual for Talisman in the North Sea — good infrastructure, good drilling opportunities and another field that’s below the radar screen of one of the supermajors,” Mann said.

The company aims to redevelop Auk, which has about 675 million barrels of oil still in place, Chief Executive Jim Buckee said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Fulmar provides an export route for crude from Auk as well as Talisman’s Clyde and Orion fields and the Shell-operated Gannet field, Buckee said.

Talisman shares fell 52 Canadian cents to C$17.16 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Talisman said the Fulmar and Auk deals are subject to regulatory approval. It expects to assume operatorship of the fields later this year.

The company has also initiated a process to sell assets it no longer considers central to its worldwide operations, such as its undeveloped oil sands holdings in Alberta, in an effort to raise more than C$1 billion ($893 million) over the next six to 12 months. Buckee has said proceeds will be used to buy back stock.

($1=$1.12 Canadian)

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