French group in retreat

Total signals exit from North Sea with asset sales

Oil rigTotal has signalled its withdrawal from the North Sea by selling gas pipelines and the St Fergus Gas Terminal to US private equity firm North Sea Midstream Partners for £585 million.

The Frigg UK pipeline was constructed in 1977 to connect the Frigg Field on the UK-Norway median line to the terminal in Scotland. The Frigg Field is now decommissioned but the pipeline is still operational, delivering gas from some 20 fields in the Northern North Sea to the terminal at St Fergus.

Total has been operating in the UK since 1962. The group is one of the country’s leading oil and gas operators, with equity production of 89,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2014.

More than 90% of Total’s production in the UK comes from several operated fields located offshore in two major zones: the Alwyn/Dunbar area in the Northern North Sea and the Elgin/Franklin area in the Central Graben, where the West Franklin Phase 2 project was brought on stream earlier this year.

With the coming start-up of the Laggan-Tormore project in the West of Shetland area, Total is opening up its third hub in the UK and a new frontier gas production area for the industry.

By the end of this year, Total is expected to become the largest producing oil and gas company in the UK and will remain a major player in the North Sea offshore industry for many years to come.

Patrick de La Chevardière, chief financial officer at Total, said: “Transferring ownership to an entity specializing in midstream UK assets creates value for us and ensures a long and bright future for the facilities.”

North Sea Midstream Partners was formed in 2012 by affiliates of Boston-based ArcLight Capital Partners, Mike Wagstaff, the former chief executive of Venture Production- which was sold to Centrica – and the senior management of Teesside Gas Processing Plant.

It aims to invest in the midstream sector of the North Sea’s oil and gas industry. Such assets include offshore pipelines, onshore gas or oil processing plants and associated storage facilities many of which are currently owned and operated by upstream field owners.




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