Subject to partner, regulatory and other third party approvals, operatorship of the FPS assets and business will transfer on completion from BP to INEOS. The sale will not affect BP’s existing rights to capacity in FPS. Under the terms of the agreement INEOS will pay BP a consideration of up to $250 million for the business, comprising a cash payment of $125 million on completion and an earn-out arrangement over seven years that totals up to $125 million.
BP group chief executive Bob Dudley commented: “BP is returning to growth in the North Sea as we bring important new projects, including the Quad 204 redevelopment and Clair Ridge, into production and increase new exploration. While the Forties pipeline had great significance in BP’s history, our business here is now centred around our major offshore interests west of Shetland and in the Central North Sea.
“The pipeline has long been an important feedstock supplier to INEOS at Grangemouth. We believe that through also owning FPS, INEOS will be able to realise greater integration benefits and help secure a competitive long-term future for this important piece of UK oil and gas infrastructure.”
Built, owned and operated by BP, the Forties pipeline was opened in 1975 to transport oil from the Forties field, the UK’s first major offshore oil field. Today FPS carries liquids production from some 85 fields in the Central and Northern North Sea and several Norwegian fields on behalf of around 40 companies. The system has a capacity of 575,000 barrels of oil a day. BP sold its interests in the Forties field to Apache in 2003 and sold the Grangemouth refinery and chemical plants to INEOS in 2005.
INEOS chairman and chief executive officer Jim Ratcliffe commented: “The North Sea continues to present new opportunities for INEOS. The Forties Pipeline System is a UK strategic asset and was originally designed to work together to feed the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical facilities. We have a strong track record of acquiring non-core assets improving their efficiency and reliability, securing long term employment and investment. I am delighted that we can now bring this integrated system back under single ownership in INEOS.”
Mark Thomas, BP North Sea regional president, said: “This allows us to further focus our North Sea business around our core offshore assets – bringing new fields into production, redeveloping and renewing existing producing facilities and acquiring and exploring new acreage and interests through licence rounds and farm-ins.
“As with our recent agreement with EnQuest, we believe this is a good example of having the ‘right assets’ in the ‘right hands’, offering new opportunities for the assets and benefitting the UKCS, in the spirit of the government’s aim of maximising economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources.”
FPS is expected to transition to INEOS as a fully operational entity with those staff who operate and support the various elements of the business expected to transfer with the business. Their contractual terms and conditions are protected under UK Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE).
Around 300 BP staff are currently associated with operating and supporting the FPS business at Kinneil, Falkirk, Dalmeny, Aberdeen and offshore. BP will now begin consultation with in-scope staff for both the unionised and non-unionised populations.
Subject to the receipt of regulatory and other third party approvals, BP aims to complete the sale and transfer of operatorship during 2017.
The FPS system primarily comprises a 169 kilometre (105 mile), 36” pipeline from the unmanned offshore Forties Unity platform to the onshore terminal at Cruden Bay. From there a 36” onshore pipeline transports the oil 209 kilometres (130 miles) south to the Kinneil facilities, adjacent to the Grangemouth refinery and chemical plant, where it is processed and stabilised before output is sent either for export via the Dalmeny terminal and Hound Point loading jetty or on to Grangemouth.
The deal includes the FPS business, including existing customer contracts, and assets including:
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