French oil giant Total has upped its stake in two major North Sea fields in a £505million deal, but said it was also looking at selling off some of its assets in the region.
The firm has increased its share in the Elgin and Franklin fields, which it operates, by buying out GDF Suez’s 22.5% share of a company called Elgin Franklin Oil & Gas (EFOG).
Total had already owned 77.5% of the firm, which owns a total 46.3% in the field.
The Elgin/Franklin fields, including West Franklin, produce an average of 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).
Total is also currently working on the Phase 2 development of the nearby West Franklin field in the central Graben area.
West Franklin, about 150 miles east of Aberdeen, is the deepest, high-pressure/high-temperature field developed on the UK continental shelf to date, according to Total.
Patrice de Vivies, senior vice president of exploration and production for Northern Europe, said: “This acquisition firmly reflects Total’s strategy of ongoing optimisation of its asset portfolio.
“The Elgin and Franklin fields started producing in 2001 and account for 7% of the UK’s production.
“These are high pressure/high temperature fields whose exploitation requires strong technological expertise.
“They still offer important development potential; for example, the second phase of West Franklin was launched in 2010 and two new platforms are being built at the moment, with start-up planned in 2013 with a production capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil per day.”
However, he also said the firm had started to look at what non-operated assets it could sell in the UK North Sea.
He said: “We have started in the UK a programme of divestment of non-strategic fields which we don’t operate.”
However, no one from Total was available to comment any further on either the divestment programme or any further plans for the Elgin/Franklin area.
The transfer of GDF SUEZ’s share in EFOG to Total is expected to be effective before the end of 2011.
The partners in Elgin/Franklin will be EFOG (Total 100%) 46.2%; ENI 21.8%; BG 14.1%; E.ON Ruhrgas 5.2%; Esso Exploration & Production 4.4%; Chevron 3.9%; Dyas 2.2%; and Summit Petroleum 2.2%.