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BP takes stronger role in North Sea gas

Culzean gas field could meet about 5 percent of British demand for natural gas.

By Daniel J. Graeber
BP takes stronger role in North Sea gas
BP doubles its stake in the Culzean gas field in the British waters of the North Sea, a field that's expected to meet about 5 percent of British gas needs once in full swing. Image courtesy of BP

LONDON, May 16 (UPI) -- BP said Monday it was doubling its stake in the Culzean gas field in the North Sea, which is expected to have enough gas to meet 5 percent of British demand.

For an undisclosed sum, BP said it doubled its stake in the field after taking a 16 percent share held by Japanese energy company JX Nippon. The field is operated by Danish energy company Maersk.

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"We are pleased to have deepened our interest in Culzean and we look forward to helping Maersk make this important central North Sea development a success," Mark Thomas, BP's regional president, said in a statement.

The Culzean gas field was discovered in 2008 and its peak production of an average 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent is enough to meet 5 percent of British gas demand. Thomas said that, with the market reeling from lower oil and gas prices, teamwork was essential for major project developments.

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Maersk in April announced plans to shut down its office in Texas and manage any remaining assets in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico from its offices in Copenhagen. The closure, which impacted about 60 staff members in Houston, was part of an effort to streamline corporate operations for Maersk.

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In the North Sea, however, Maersk has already started cutting steel at a Singapore shipyard for a platform associated with its $4.5 billion Culzean project. The company said Culzean field is the largest discovered in the region in more than a decade.

The Japanese company, for its part, said the sale "aims to deliver the best allocation of JX's management resources and to optimize JX's asset portfolio across exploration, development and production assets."

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