Operatorship of a critical conduit that brings gas ashore from the Central North Sea has changed hands.
It is understood that Shell’s (LON: SHEL) interest in the SEAL pipeline was transferred to the remaining owners at the start of August.
At that point, operatorship of the gas pipeline shifted to French supermajor TotalEnergies (LON: TTE).
Measuring in at 295 miles long and 34 inches in diameter, SEAL – the Shearwater Elgin Area Line – has been operational for more than 20 years.
It transports gas from the TotalEnergies-operated Elgin-Franklin platform in the Central Graben Region to the Bacton gas terminal on the Norfolk coast.
Liquids meanwhile are separated at the installation and exported via the Ineos-operated Graben Area Export Line (GAEL).
GAEL connects to the Forties pipeline, which comes ashore in Aberdeenshire before heading south to the Kinneil Terminal at Grangemouth.
Following the handover, the group’s interest in the asset has been absorbed by the remaining parties, though the split is not known.
Shell was unable to comment.
Shearwater gas being rerrouted
SEAL has also been used to transport gas from the London-listed supermajor’s Shearwater production hub, about 140 miles east of Aberdeen.
But it is understood Shell intends to use the SEGAL – Shell Esso Gas and Associated Liquids – pipeline going forward as part of a planned rerouting.
SEGAL comes ashore at the St Fergus gas plant near Peterhead, home to the Acorn carbon capture and storage project.
St Fergus is managed by energy infrastructure firm px Group, the parent company of Energy24.
Earlier this week it was announced that Energy24 had bagged a multi-year contract with TotalEnergies’s UK E&P division to manage the SEAL pipeline.
A value for the deal wasn’t given.
Energy24 is now responsible for 24/7 operations of the pipeline, including commercial operations, pipeline monitoring, shipper services, hydrocarbon allocation and accounting, continuous improvement and project management.
In 2020 it appeared TotalEnergies was preparing to walk away from SEAL after reports emerged it was chasing a buyer for its 25.7% stake in the pipeline.
At the time the North Sea was in the depths of a severe, Covid-induced industry downturn that was putting a strain on oil and gas company’s finances.
Correction, 1.30pm, October 20: A previous version of this article featured an inappropriate picture. It was chosen by accident and has now been amended. We apologise for this mistake and any issues caused.