Aera Coalinga

Aera Energy's Coalinga-area office is seen in this Google Earth image.

published on September 2, 2022 - 9:36 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Aera Energy — the Bakersfield-based child of two global oil giants — is on its way to being sold.

Formed in 1997, Aera Energy is the joint venture of ExxonMobil and Shell. Reuters reported Thursday the private oil driller is being sold to German investment group IKAV for $4 billion.

Terms have been struck on the sale to be completed through two separate transactions subject to regulatory approval, according to a news release from IKAV, which manages an energy infrastructure portfolio that includes wind, solar and carbon capture worth 2.5 euros, or $2.49 billion.

Aera will operate as normal in the Golden State, accounting for a quarter of the state’s total oil production. Including Kern County and Coalinga-area drilling operations in Fresno County, Aera produced an average of 95,000 barrels of crude oil a day in 2021, according to the news release.

Erik Bartsch, president and CEO of Aera, said the the acquisition shows IKAV’s commitment to deliver solutions to meet the state’s climate goals.

“Aera will continue to power the California economy and live our values of exceptional care for people and the environment. We will also remain committed to the principles that make us an employer of choice and a valued partner in the communities where we live and work,” Bartsch said. 

IKAV officials said the investment in Aera emphasizes that conventional energy will still play a role in California’s energy mix as the state transitions to renewable resources.

“In addition to our long-term
goal and commitment to renewable energy, we recognize the continued need for oil and gas and for these assets to be operated safely and responsibly to facilitate a smooth and sustainable transformation of our energy supply,” said Constantin von Wasserschleben, IKAV chairman. “We advocate a co-existence between renewable and conventional energy for decades to come. Aera fits our philosophy, and we are excited to be working with its exceptional team, who share our culture and long-term ambitions. Together, we have the expertise required to find innovative solutions to meet California’s energy demand as well as its future climate goals.”

IKAV set out a goal for carbon neutral operations in the coming decades, with plans to deploy renewable energy to help power its conventional energy operations.

The deal is expected to close pending regulatory approval in the fourth quarter of 2022, Reuters reported.

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