Norwegian Energy Company, (Noreco), said yesterday the non-operating partners of the Huntington field in the UK had unanimously decided to remove Oilexco North Sea (ONS) as operator of the licence.
They have also accepted E.ON Ruhrgas as the new operator.
Noreco said the partners appreciated the work and efforts by ONS as operator and regretted the events that had led to the unfortunate situation. It said: “With ONS now in administration, we see the change in operatorship as in the best interest of the joint venture.
“It is important to swiftly remove any uncertainty on the Huntington development and preserve the value of this important asset.
“The operatorship change will ensure progression on the development in line with the partnership’s plans. We fully support E.ON Ruhrgas as operator and we look forward to working with ONS in its new role as a non-operating partner in the licence.”
The statement said that, following the High Court’s appointment of administrators for ONS on January 7, the partners in licence P1114 had unanimously decided to invoke their right to remove ONS as operator. Noreco said the operatorship change was effective yesterday, and was in accordance with the joint operating agreement governing the licence.
The Norwegian company said last Thursday the development of Huntington would go ahead as planned despite ONS falling into administration.
Huntington is rated by analysts as potentially one of the biggest finds in the UK North Sea in the last five years, with up to 150million barrels of oil in place. Noreco said it still planned for first oil from Huntington next year.
Operator ONS went into administration after its lenders refused to provide it with additional funding.
Partners in the licence on block 22/14b in the central North Sea are Noreco 20%, ONS 40%, E.ON Ruhrgas 25% and Carrizo Oil and Gas 15%.
Administrators at Ernst and Young have already reported that they will continue trading at ONS with a view to seeking buyers for some or all of the company’s assets.