Under the terms of the agreement, Serica will pay BP an upfront payment of £12.8 million, a share of cash flows over the next four years, a consideration equivalent to 30% of BP’s post-tax decommissioning costs and several contingent payments dependent on future asset performance and product prices. Overall, BP expects to receive payments of around £300 million, the majority of which will be received over the next four years.
Bernard Looney, BP Chief Executive, Upstream, said: “This is an example of BP’s Upstream strategy in action – refreshing our portfolio and focusing our activity on assets which will add most value over the long-term.
“We remain committed to the North Sea and continue to invest. We expect our production there to double to around 200,000 barrels equivalent a day by 2020 through new projects like Quad 204 and Clair Ridge.
“While the Bruce assets are no longer core to BP, we are confident that Serica is the right owner and operator to maximise their continuing value for both companies and for the UK.”
Serica chairman Tony Craven Walker commented: “This transaction will establish Serica as a leading British independent oil company with the scale, balance sheet and operating capability to prosper in the North Sea’s rapidly changing upstream oil and gas industry.”
The Bruce field was discovered in 1974 and came into production in 1993, with Keith tied back to Bruce in 2000. Rhum, a high-pressure, high-temperature satellite field located 40 kilometres to the north of Bruce, was brought into production in 2005.
The Bruce assets are expected to transition to Serica as a fully operational entity with around 110 staff who operate and support the assets expected to transfer with the business. Their contractual terms and conditions are protected under UK Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE). BP will now begin consultation with in-scope staff.
Subject to the receipt of regulatory and other third-party approvals, BP aims to complete the sale and transfer of operatorship in the 3rd quarter of 2018.
In order to utilize the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the ‘PSLRA’), BP is providing the following cautionary statement. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning BP’s agreement to sell its North Sea Bruce assets to Serica Energy plc, including plans and expectations regarding the amount and timing of payments relating to the transaction; plans and expectations regarding the completion of the transaction in the third quarter of 2018; plans and expectations regarding the transfer of Bruce assets and staff to Serica, BP’s small continued ownership stake and decommissioning activity; and plans and expectations regarding BP’s North Sea development and production including related to Clair Ridge, BP’s investment in the ETAP cluster of fields and the drilling of exploration and development wells. Actual results may differ from those expressed in such statements, depending on a variety of factors including changes in public expectations and other changes to business conditions; the timing, quantum and nature of divestments; the receipt of relevant third-party and/or regulatory approvals; future levels of industry product supply; demand and pricing; OPEC quota restrictions; PSA effects; operational problems; regulatory or legal actions; economic and financial conditions generally or in various countries and regions; political stability and economic growth in relevant areas of the world; changes in laws and governmental regulations; exchange rate fluctuations; development and use of new technology; the success or otherwise of partnering; the actions of competitors, trading partners and others; natural disasters and adverse weather conditions; wars and acts of terrorism, cyber-attacks or sabotage; and other factors discussed under “Principal risks and uncertainties” in the results announcement for the period ended 30 June 2017 and “Risk factors” in our Annual Report and Form 20-F 2016.