BP sells off strategic North Sea pipeline network

INEOS to pay up to $250 million to acquire the Forties pipeline system in the North Sea.

By Daniel J. Graeber

April 3 (UPI) -- British petrochemicals company INEOS said Monday it was moving into BP's wake by taking over one of the supermajor's biggest North Sea assets.

INEOS agreed to pay up to a quarter billion dollars to acquire the 235-mile Forties pipeline system, which ties 85 oil and gas assets in the North Sea to the British mainland. CEO Jim Ratcliffe said the pipeline system, designed originally to carry oil from the Forties field to a refinery in Edinburgh, is a strategic asset.


"The North Sea continues to present new opportunities for INEOS," he said in a statement.

INEOS in late 2016 became the largest shale gas acreage holder in the country when it was awarded 21 licenses by the British government.

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Oil from the Forties system contributes to a basket of oils that make up Brent, the benchmark used for the price of oil on the global market. In February, pricing agency S&P Global Platts said it would add oil from the Troll field in the Norwegian waters of the North Sea to the Brent basket, giving Norwegian energy company Statoil a stronger position in terms of its link to pricing.


During the past decade, Platts changed up the basket of what constitutes the benchmark by adding Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk grades from the North Sea as production from the Brent field itself started to decline.

For BP, the decision to leave one of its legacy holdings behind was part of a shift toward emerging North Sea assets.

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"While the Forties pipeline had great significance in BP's history, our business here is now centered around our major interests west of Shetland and in the central North Sea," BP CEO Bob Dudley said.

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