Premier Oil has entered into a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) to sell its entire equity interest in the Esmond Transportation System (ETS) pipeline in the North Sea to pay off its debts.
The agreement was made with CATS Management Limited, an Antin Infrastructure Partners portfolio company. Under the terms of the SPA, Premier will receive cash consideration of up to £23.6 million ($31.6 million) for its entire 30 per cent interest in ETS, Premier informed on Monday.
The consideration consists of an initial upfront payment of £21 million ($28.1 million) (subject to certain customary financial adjustments) payable on completion, plus a future potential payment of up to £2.6 million ($3.5 million) linked to the achievement of certain key milestones in respect of any future development of the Pegasus field. Disposal proceeds will be used to pay down Premier’s existing debt.
The ETS pipeline was constructed in order to transport gas from Esmond Area fields to the Bacton gas terminal on the North Sea Coast in North Norfolk. The pipeline is currently operated by Perenco UK Limited as operator of the Trent and Tyne fields, and is used as the export route for the Cygnus gas field recently brought on stream by Engie.
The effective date of the sale is January 1, 2017. Completion remains subject to obtaining all normal and necessary third party consents and regulatory approvals including discharges and release of securities. Premier expects the sale to complete in 1H 2018.
Jefferies International Limited acted as financial advisor to Premier, together with Centrica plc and Perenco UK Limited who have also entered into separate SPAs, to sell their respective interests in the ETS pipeline to CATS Management Limited.
Tony Durrant, Premier Chief Executive, commented: “The sale of the ETS pipeline interest is another step in realizing value from the E.ON UK portfolio acquired by Premier for $120 million in 2016. The ETS pipeline does not serve any fields owned by Premier and is therefore non-core to the group.”
On completion of the acquisitions, CATS Management Limited will become the operator of ETS and will maintain the existing arrangement whereby Perenco operates the pipeline on its behalf in its capacity as operator of the Trent platform.
Earlier this year CATS also signed heads of terms with Premier Oil and Dana Petroleum to enter into an infrastructure partnership to support the development of the Tolmount field, also in the Southern North Sea. Under the terms of the deal, CATS Management and Dana will jointly construct and own the Humber Gathering System (HGS), consisting of a platform and export pipeline, in equal shares, with CATS assuming operatorship.
CATS Management and Dana will also jointly undertake the onshore modifications at the Dimlington terminal in East Yorkshire, that are required to enable gas from HGS to be received and processed.