Ineos to Buy Another UK Gas Field?

28.10.2015 -

Ineos is mooted to be in advanced talks about a deal to acquire more North Sea gas interests.

The UK’s Sky News said on Oct. 27 it had learned that Ineos is close to acquiring a 25% stake in the Clipper South gas field located 300 miles northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland. The field was originally operated by Shell before being sold in 2008.

Clipper is one of 12 gas fields in the North Sea that Ineos recently bought or bought into in a sale mandated by the UK government last year at the height of tensions between Russia and the EU over Ukraine.

The assets in question belong to the German-based DEA group, which was bought by the Letter One holding of Russian investor Mikhail Friedman last March 2014.

If the deal does take place it would give the Swiss-based chemical group two-thirds ownership of the Clipper field after buying a 50% shareholding earlier this month. Germany’s Bayerngas would remain as a 25% shareholder.

Bankers told Sky that the acquisition price is likely to be in line with the valuation attributed to the field in Ineos's deal with LetterOne. Ineos also is mooted to be in discussions to buy a number of Fairfield's other assets.

According the observers, a sale of the working field to Ineos could leave Fairfield free to concentrate on its decommissioning business, allowing it to meet substantial potential demand from oil and gas producers whose costs are no longer sustainable with the current low oil prices.

In an interesting twist, Sky reported that Fairfield is backed by shareholders including Riverstone, a major energy-focused investment firm which until recently counted Lord Browne, former CEO of BP as a partner. Lord Browne has now moved to Letter One.