RockRose Energy has been ousted as operator of a North Sea hub with Taqa UK set to take over control thanks to a legal challenge brought by its partners.
Court proceedings brought by Taqa and the other joint venture partners, JX Nippon and Spirit Energy in December, have resulted in RockRose being forced to relinquish control of the Greater Brae Area (GBA).
The proceedings are related to a notice of discharge served on Marathon Oil UK, as operator.
A notice was served to Marathon Oil UK on July 1 2019, prior to its acquisition by RockRose.
RockRose took on an operated stake of between 37%-40% in the GBA fields as part of its acquisition last year of Marathon Oil’s UK business.
Taqa, JX Nippon and Spirit Energy voted to “discharge” RockRose as operator in October.
Andrew Austin, Rockrose, executive chairman, said: “Our focus throughout this process has been to ensure the best possible outcome for the Brae Area, the staff working on the assets, and for the joint venture partners.
“We are proud of the role we have played in furthering the Government’s Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) strategy in the short time we have operated the assets.
“We look forward to working with Taqa to support a smooth transition and to minimise any disruption once approval from the Secretary of State has been obtained.
“For RockRose, this change is financially and strategically neutral and we look forward to seeing the assets continue to deliver for the Company and its shareholders”.
The Brae area lies about 170 miles north-east of Aberdeen and started producing via the Alpha platform in 1983.
Brae Bravo came on stream in 1988, followed by East Brae in 1993.
Marathon submitted decommissioning plans for the GBA infrastructure in mid-2017, and Brae Bravo recently stopped producing.
Donald Taylor, Taqa Europe managing director, said: “The Commercial Court has confirmed the decision of the Brae fields joint venture to appoint Taqa as successor operator to RockRose, subject to obtaining OGA consent.
“The owners of the Brae Fields, comprising Taqa, Spirit Energy, JX Nippon and RockRose look forward to obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals and to discussing arrangements to transition operatorship of the Brae fields to Taqa.
“We welcome RockRose’s comments today that “RockRose will work with Taqa during the transition process to ensure there is no disruption to ongoing operations (including the current drilling programme at West Brae), and to ensure staff are fully supported throughout.
“Operational activities will continue unaffected while the transition is undertaken.
“The safe and successful operation of the Brae fields remains Taqa’s primary aim and we look forward to working collaboratively together with the joint venture, relevant regulatory bodies, contractors and other stakeholders to manage a safe transition of Brae Area operatorship.”