French oil major Total ( TOTF.PA ) has overtaken rival Royal Dutch Shell ( RDSa.L ) to become the second-largest producer in the North Sea with its acquisition of Maersk’s ( MAERSKb.CO ) Norwegian and UK producing assets. The $7.45 billion deal by Total was welcomed by the market, with analysts saying it helped the French company rebalance its portfolio by adding assets in developed countries after going for projects in riskier places such as Iran and Russia. The deal boosts the share of eight global oil majors in the North Sea – Statoil, Total, Shell, Exxon Mobil ( XOM.N ), Conoco ( COP.N ), ENI <ENI.MI, BP ( BP.L ) and Chevron ( CVX.N ) – to back above three […]