Published in Oil Industry News on Wednesday, 8 February 2017
BP has restated its commitment to the North Sea oil and gas industry with a promise to be a “jobs generator” for the struggling oil economy.
The commitment comes shortly after the oil major posted a $115 million profit for 2016 – a massive improvement on 2015’s $6.5 billion loss.
BP who shed over $7billion of it’s costs since the oil price started plunging back in 2014 has reaffirmed a pledge to North Sea operations.
The announcement also follows a recent asset sale by BP, who sold off a 25% stake in it’s Magnus development (one of the North Sea’s oldest oil fields) and a 3% stake in it’s Sullom Voe operations.
EnQuest assumed responsibility for operating the field and the Sullom Voe plant as part of the landmark $85 million deal.
Around 100 BP staff linked to the two facilities will have their employment transferred to EnQuest as a result of the agreement.
The management change was welcome by industry experts who described it as “the beginning of a new era”
The asset sale also raised fears that BP, who have played one of the most pivotal roles in the North Seas development, may be looking to make an exit from the ageing basin.
However, BP’s Bob Dudley was quick to quell any concerns that the asset handovers would result in a withdrawal from the North Sea, advising the firm remained ‘very bullish’ on the North Sea.
In the last year BP has also doubled its interest in Maersk Oil’s Culzean ‘mega-find’ near the Norwegian border, to 32 per cent.
Mr Dudley added: “This is a heartland for BP.
“I think you see nothing but commitment from us. We will always be looking for simplifying and making sure we are doing things efficiently but the majority of that is behind us.
“We’ve put $8 to $10billion pounds into the North Sea over the last number of years and we are still going with that – there’s a deep commitment there.
“We’re planning up to five exploration wells in 2017 and we’ve got about 50 development wells over the next three or four years coming.
“If we are successful, we will be a jobs generator for the North Sea.”
The reassurance from BP will be welcome with open arms in an industry sector that has seen over 100,000 job losses since the start of the oil down turn.
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