‘No final decision’ on jobs as Total completes takeover of Maersk Oil

Platform jackets being installed on the North Sea Culzean field.
Platform jackets being installed on the North Sea Culzean field.

French energy giant Total yesterday confirmed the takeover of Danish conglomerate Moller-Maersk’s oil and gas business.

Paris-headquartered Total said the £5.8billion deal made it the second largest operator in the North Sea with an output of 500,000 barrels per day by 2020.

The purchase of Maersk Oil hands Total a 49.99% operated stake in one of the UK’s biggest offshore gas developments, the Culzean field, which is expected to come online in 2019.

Both businesses employed about 700 people in exploration and production in Aberdeen when the deal was announced in August.

At the time, Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said the merging of the two businesses would create “the opportunity to do some rationalisation”.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Total E&P UK said no final decision had been made on the optimum headcount for the north-east operation.

Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said the acquisition was a success “on many levels”.

Mr Pouyanne said: “First, the deal illustrates our strategy to build on our strengths and grow our presence in Total’s core areas, like the North Sea, to strengthen our leadership there.

“Second, it brings high-quality and low-breakeven assets, enhancing our worldwide portfolio. Third, the strong overlap between Maersk Oil and the Group’s assets will generate more than $400million (£290million) of synergies per year.

“We are committed to preserve and further develop Maersk Oil’s heritage by relying on the strong competencies of its teams. Our regional hub for North Sea activities is now headquartered in Copenhagen. Moreover, we welcome a major new shareholder — A.P. Moller-Maersk — which will hold 3.70% of the Group’s capital.”

Moller Maersk chief executive Soren Skou said: “I would like to express our appreciation for the commitment demonstrated by Maersk Oil over the past 18 months to uphold a safe and solid performance, while at the same time successfully progressing on major development projects in the North Sea.

“The focus and results achieved during the time of transition is a testament to the capabilities and professionalism of Maersk Oil’s people.”