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As Serica buys BP assets

Ineos makes move into North Sea exploration

Jim Ratcliffe

Petrochemicals group Ineos is extending its activities in the North Sea by buying two licences to explore for gas.

It is the first time the company – which is owned by the billionaire Jim Ratcliffe and owns the Grangemouth refinery – has searched for energy rather than buy it third parties.

However, Tom Crotty, a director, said the move was less about protecting its own sources of supply and more about expanding overall activity in the region.

“This is less about us worrying about raw materials and more than being part of the North Sea,” he said. “It is an extension of the life of the North Sea which is good for Scotland.”

The two licensed areas are about 90 miles north of the Shetland Islands and two-thirds are being acquired from Aberdeen-based Siccar Point Energy.

Ineos already has stakes in gas fields in the southern North Sea, acquired when it took over the portfolio built up by DONG Energy of Denmark earlier this year.

These fields deliver 100,000 barrels per day, and have 570 million barrels of viable reserves. That deal made Ineos one of the top ten UK producers, and the biggest in private hands.

Serica acquires BP assets

Aim-quoted Serica Energy has acquired BP’s interests in the Bruce, Keith and Rhum fields in the North Sea and associated infrastructure in a deal ultimately worth £300m.

Serica will acquire a 36% interest in Bruce, 34.83% in Keith and 50% in Rhum (collectively the “BKR Assets”) for an initial £12.8m, with an additional payments on targets being achieved.

Subject to completion, Serica will also become production operator of the BKR Assets and the directors anticipate that approximately 110 BP staff will be transferred to Serica.

The acquisition is expected to complete in mid-2018 and catapults the oil minnow into the top three European-listed oil producers.




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