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BP sale + Parkmead deal + Subsea launch

Grangemouth operator Ineos buys Forties pipeline

Entrepreneur Jim Ratcliffe tightened his grip on Britain’s energy supply yesterday after agreeing a £200m deal to buy the Forties pipeline from BP.

The pipeline carries about 40% of UK supplies and links 85 North Sea Oil and Gas assets to the UK mainland. The transaction includes the Kinneil Terminal.

Mr Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of Ineos which operates the Grangemouth complex, said: “The North Sea continues to present new opportunities for Ineos.”

The Forties pipeline was opened in 1975 by BP and consists of more than 100 miles of pipes with the capacity to transport 575,000 barrels of oil a day from fields in the North Sea and several Norwegian fields.

Switzerland-based Mr Ratcliffe said: “The Forties Pipeline System is a UK strategic asset and was originally designed to work together to feed the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical facilities.

“We have a strong track record of acquiring non-core assets and improving their efficiency and reliability, securing long-term employment and investment.”

BP chief executive Bob Dudley said: “While the Forties pipeline had great significance in BP’s history, our business here is now centred around our major offshore interests west of Shetland and in the Central North Sea.”

Mr Dudley is facing a 30% cut in his pay packaged, according to reports. His maximum annual pay over the next three years will be around £12.2m ($15.2m), including his salary, an annual bonus of £3.3m, and a long-term share incentive plan award of £7.4m.

This compares to his previous pay package valued at £17.4m, meaning that BP has slashed more than £5m from Dudley’s potential pay.

The change is expected to be outlined in BP’s annual report due to be released later this week.

> 4 April update: Parkmead, the UK and Netherlands focused independent oil and gas group, has nearly doubled its stake in the major Sanda North and Sanda South structures in the West of Shetland area of the UK North Sea.

Tom Cross, executive chairman, said: “We are delighted to have nearly doubled our stake in the very large Sanda North and Sanda South prospects, which have the potential to add major value to the company.

“The West of Shetland is an area that we understand well, and this increased stake further builds on the strength of Parkmead’s asset portfolio in the UK.

We are pleased that high-impact exploration close to our acreage could add further regional value to Parkmead’s assets, at no cost to our company.

“The team at Parkmead is working intensively to evaluate and execute further value-adding opportunities in our core areas of the UK and Netherlands.

Keith Brown

Keith Brown: backing centre (photo by Terry Murden – DB Media Services)

> A £16 million Centre of Excellence focused on the £50 billion subsea sector is today being launched in East Kilbride.

It is led by German outfit TÜV SÜD, a provider of research and development, consultancy and testing to the international oil & gas industry.

TÜV SÜD AG will invest £11.1m backed by a £4.9m research and development grant from Scottish Enterprise. The project marks the largest capital investment to date in the company’s UK business. It will create at least 17 jobs and safeguard a further 82.  

The centre will provide opportunities for company-led industrial projects, development work with SMEs, hands-on training for the industry and academic research.

The subsea sector is already home to 370 companies in Scotland and the CoE will offer potential benefits to companies in other sectors such as nuclear power, food and drink, aerospace and renewable energy.

The announcement comes during a visit by Economy Secretary Keith Brown to the Scottish Enterprise Technology Park in East Kilbride where the new facility will be built over the next two years.   

He said: “It is a testament to the international standing of the oil and gas sector in Scotland that the company has chosen to make this investment.

‘It also reflects the bright future that the oil and gas industry and its supply chain can enjoy, especially when supported by innovations such as this Centre for Excellence for Flow Measurement and Fluid Mechanics‎.”

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