News Column

Shell planning to offload three producing assets in North Sea

February 14, 2014

LONDON Energy major Royal Dutch Shell is planning to sell three oil and gas producing assets in the North Sea as part of plans to step-up divestments this year.

Shell, along with its peers in the industry, has been facing increasing investor pressure to rein in spending as costs rise and outlook for high oil prices wane.

Shell, attempting to win round investors after a major profit warning early this year, in January said it was targeting $15 billion (8 billion pounds) of disposals including some North Sea fields over the next two years as it tries to deliver more attractive returns to shareholders.

The three producing assets earmarked for sale includes Anasuria, a manned floating production, storage and offloading installation, and the Nelson and Sean manned platforms.

Shell has a 50% equity share in oil and gas producing Anasuria, located 115 miles (185km) east of Aberdeen, while the remaining stake is held by joint venture partner Esso Exploration and Production UK Ltd.

Shell-operated Nelson is located about 124 miles (200km) east-north-east of Aberdeen and exports oil and gas. The co-venturers are Shell (58.1%), Esso Exploration and Production UK Ltd (21.23%), Apache North Sea Ltd (11.52%), Idemitsu Petroleum UK Ltd (7.48%), and Premier Oil ONS Ltd (1.66%).

Sean, which is Shell-operated, is located in the Southern North Sea, 68 miles (109km) north east of Lowestoft and produces gas. Shell has a 25% equity share in this project and the co-venture partners are Scottish and Southern Energy (50%), and Esso Exploration and Production UK Ltd (25%).

The company had informed the staff earlier this week about the proposed sale.

Assuring that Shell is committed to investments in the country, Glen Cayley, vice president of Upstream Shell UK and Ireland, said: "The UK is an important business region for Shell, and our investment strategy continues to focus on assets where we see an opportunity for growth using our world-class technological know-how."

In a statement, Cayley said the company is "focusing and strengthening our portfolio for the decades ahead with many exciting projects such as new wells we are drilling at Shearwater, our investment in extending the life of Gannet, our investments in the non-operated ventures of Schiehallion and Clair and our purchases, last year, of a further interest in Beryl and the Curlew floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

"These changes are very much in line with our strategy and will allow us to focus on where we can add value to ensure a long-term future for Shell in the basin.

According to a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper, the North Sea disposals were not influenced by the upcoming September 18 referendum on Scottish independence, which other energy bosses have signaled is further undermining the North Sea investment climate.

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Source: Big News Network (United Arab Emirates)

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