September 26, 2022
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Aera, Ventura County’s leading oil producer, sold to German firm

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Aera Energy, one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the tri-county region, will be sold by its owners, ExxonMobil and Shell, to a privately held German company, IKAV.

The companies announced the deal Sept. 1. Shell owns about 52% of Aera, and Exxon owns about 48%. IKAV will pay about $4 billion in cash to the two companies for Aera.

Exxon and Shell expect the acquisition to close in the fourth quarter of this year, pending regulatory approval.

Citigroup, Wells Fargo Securities and Truist Securities acted as lead financial advisor. Haynes & Boone, LLP acted as legal advisor to IKAV.

Aera is independently operated and headquartered in Bakersfield. It is one of California’s largest oil and gas companies, accounting for nearly 25% of the state’s production, and it is the largest producer in Ventura County.

According to a statement from Aera, the company owns wells on about 4,300 acres in and around the northwest edge of the city of Ventura, along Ventura Avenue, and produces 12,000 barrels of crude oil per day from that oil field, or about 13% of the company’s statewide total. Aera employs about 200 people in the Ventura area.

“We are excited about the future of energy and IKAV’s investment in Aera tells us they are confident in our ability to find innovative solutions to help California meet its bold climate goals, while we continue to safely and responsibly produce the affordable energy the state demands,” Amy Fonzo, Aera’s external affairs advisor, said in a statement to the Business Times. “IKAV is a strong advocate of a co-existence between renewable and conventional energy and believes oil and gas will play an essential role in providing stability to California’s energy supply for decades to come.”