Big energy firm Total sells UK gas assets worth £585mn
Total, the French firm that is one of the biggest energy operators in the North Sea, has sold $900m (£585m) of its UK gas assets.
Two pipelines and the St Fergus terminal in Scotland are included in the sell-off, which has been blamed on the worldwide collapse of oil prices.
The $900m sale, which includes a pipeline that delivers gas from 20 North Sea fields, is aimed at cutting costs, and the value of recent disposals by Total currently stands at more than £1bn in only the last two months.
Total's desire to raise funds from the sale was made clear in a statement from the company's chief financial officer Patrick de la Chevardière, who said: “The sale of these midstream transportation assets is another example of Total’s strategy of active portfolio management, and the strong potential to unlock value from a range of infrastructure assets.”
Rivals Maersk Oil also announced plans to close the Janice field in the North Sea with the loss of 200 jobs.
Patrick Pouyanné, chief executive of Total, was already on record earlier in the year for saying that the company could dispose of up to $5bn of assets this year, though not all of these would be UK North Sea sales.
However, in July, the company transferred a stake in a gas field off the Shetland Islands worth £565m to SSE, one of Britain’s big six domestic energy suppliers.
In light of the recent moves, Total said that it remained committed to Britain and cited the start-up of the deepwater field Laggan-Tormore off the west of Shetland as proof of its continued involvement.