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Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to offload its holdings in ten North Sea oil fields Reuters

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to offload holdings in 10 North Sea oil fields in a deal worth up to £3.1bn ($3.8bn).

The oil major said it will sell its interests in Buzzard, Beryl, Bressay, Elgin-Franklin, J-Block, the Greater Armada cluster, Everest, Lomond, Schiehallion and Erskine transferring them to UK independent explorer Chrysaor.

The Anglo-Dutch group said the fields account for output of 115,000 barrels per day, and the move will transfer around 400 staff to Chrysaor.

The move is part of Shell steamlining its worldwide assets after it completed its £50bn purchase of gas major BG last February. The deal greatly expands Shell's presence in the gas markets, lessening its reliance on oil production, which has seen prices fall by more than half over the last three years to around $55 per barrel for Brent Crude.

The FTSE 100 business said after the sale it will still be left with around 96,000 barrels per day of production in the North Sea.

Andy Brown, Shell's upstream director, said: "Shell has a long and proud history in the UK North Sea, to which we remain committed. This deal complements the great strides we have made over the last two years in improving the competitiveness of our UK upstream business."

Shell's chief financial officer Simon Henry added the deal is "consistent with Shell's strategy to high-grade and simplify our portfolio following the acquisition of BG, to ensure the company represents a world-class investment case".

The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to complete in the second half of this year.