French oil company Total is to buy Maersk’s North Sea fields – including the flagship Culzean gas field - in a £5,800 million take-over which will make it the second-biggest producer in the basin.
Maersk is currently developing the Culzean gas field, 145 miles east of Aberdeen, a £3,000 million investment expected to start production in 2019. It is anticipated that Culzean will supply up to 5% of UK gas demand by 2020/21, some 400 to 500 million standard cubic feet per day.
The takeover will give Total about 1,000 million barrels of oil equivalent of proven and probable reserves, about 80% of which are in the North Sea. It will add output of about 160,000 barrels a day of oil equivalent to the French group next year, rising to 200,000 a day by 2020.
Patricia Gibson MP commented:
“The North Sea remains an incredibly important asset for Scotland and the development of Culzean will be vital, not just for the Scottish but the entire UK economy, as the scale of this takeover indicates.
“When one considers the nonsense spoken by the unionist parties many years ago that the North Sea would run dry ‘in the eighties’ with much gloom and doom since, it is clear that whilst the fall in oil prices undoubtedly reduced investment and employment significantly, the North Sea will remain of importance to Scotland for decades to come.”
Total plans to invest $15-17,000 million next year.