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BP strikes $1.1bn North Sea deal with Abu Dhabi’s TAQA

TAQA is buying BP’s stakes in five oil fields in a deal which is expected to boost the emirate oil firm’s North Sea production by around 20,000 barrels per day.
BP strikes $1.1bn North Sea deal with Abu Dhabi’s TAQA

BP (LON:BP.) today unveiled a US$1.1bn deal to sell North Sea assets to Abu Dhabi energy firm TAQA.

TAQA is buying BP’s stakes in five oil fields. The deal is expected to boost the emirate oil firm’s North Sea production by around 20,000 barrels per day.

The transaction follows David Cameron’s charm offensive in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, in which the prime minister tried to foster better business ties with the emirate states.

According to TAQA the acquisition shows it commitment to the future of the North Sea oil industry which is underpinned by the UK’s commitment to long term fiscal stability.

BP, meanwhile, sees this latest asset sale as an opportunity to strengthen its finances - $37bn of disposals have already been agreed in the past two years – and also to focus on a smaller number of higher value projects in the North Sea.

The oil major’s North Sea president says the TAQA deal makes ‘strategic sense’.

The assets being sold include a 27.7% interest in the Marathon Oil operated Brae complex, a 33.21% holding in East Brae and a 52% stake in Braemar (which is tied-back to East Brae).

Also on the chopping block are an operated 88.7% stake in the Devernick field (also tied into East Brae) and, separately, an operated 37% stake in separate Maclure oil field.

The fifth asset, the Harding gas field, is in a more isolated area away from the other fields and according to BP it will require significant investment to develop the reserves. BP owned 70% of the Harding asset.

In an interview with Proactive Investors at the Oil Council World Assembly conference this week David Cook, head of oil and gas at TAQA, emphasised the Abu Dhabi company’s success since it entered the North Sea five years ago.

Since first acquiring projects here in 2007 it has grown its production profile and invested over US$4bn – not including the $1.1bn it commits to in today’s deal.

“We’ve taken projects that were producing 20,000 barrels a day and declining, and we have now produced them at over 50,000 barrels a day, with average production of around 40,000 barrels a day.

“We’ve had exploration successes, we’re doing new developments in new fields and we continue to look for opportunities to grow.”

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