BG, SSE sell stake in UK North Sea field

BG Group and SSE E&P have decided to sell their respective stakes in a North Sea block, which contains an extension to the Columbus field, for a nominal sum.  

The buyers of the equity in Block 23/21a, Serica Energy, Endeavour Energy and EOG Resources, are also partners in Block 23/16f.

Serica Energy says that the transaction is subject to the consent of the Licensing Authorities, and is in the spirit of the Oil & Gas Authority’s (OGA) commitment to expediting UK offshore oil and gas field developments.

Block 23/21a Columbus Subarea lies directly south of Block 23/16f. The BG and SSE interests in the Block 23/21a Columbus Subarea are being transferred to the Columbus Participants in proportion to the interests held by the Columbus Participants in Block 23/16f.

Following completion of the transaction, the Columbus Participants will own 100% of the Columbus field with Serica having a 50% interest and continuing as field operator, while Endeavour and EOG each will have 25% interest.

According to Serica, as well as increasing the Columbus Participants’ share of the total Columbus field, the transaction provides the Columbus Participants with greater autonomy, and the ability to push the project forward without the encumbrance of unitisation.

The development of the Columbus field is contingent upon access to infrastructure being agreed on a commercial basis with nearby infrastructure owners, and discussions are now expected to move forward under the guidance of the OGA, Serica said. To remind, back in 2013, Serica experienced a major setback in its Columbus project as BG cancelled the Lomond Bridge Linked Platform that was to be part of the export route for gas and gas condensate from the Columbus field.

An extension has been granted to the licence terms covering Block 23/16f to enable agreement on an export route to be reached and a field development plan to be submitted. The company added that a similar extension was expected to be granted in respect of the Block 23/21a Columbus Subarea licence.

Tony Craven Walker, Chairman commented: “This transaction, along with the improved performance of the Lomond platform in recent months, one of a number of potential hosts, has given Serica encouragement that a cost effective offtake route can be found for Columbus. There is the added benefit that future production from Columbus could help extend the life of other fields and facilities in the area, including the Erskine field in which Serica has an 18% interest. I would like to acknowledge the OGA’s role in helping to unlock the potential of the Columbus project and to thank BG and SSE for cooperating with the Columbus Partners to reach this agreement.” 

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