Decipher lands North Sea Orlando deal

North Sea start-up Decipher Energy has confirmed a deal to buy up North Sea assets out of administration.

Decipher, which is led by former First Oil executive Steve Bowyer, now owns 100% of the Orlando and Kells licenses and expects to achieve first oil by 2018.

The company has revived a plan to export oil from Orlando through the Ninian Central platform owned by CNR International.

Yesterday Decipher also said it was awarded blocks in the Senna discovery in the Oil and Gas Authority’s 29th licensing round.

The deal comes after Decipher struck a deal to buy an initial 25% stake in Orlando from Atlantic Petroleum, in a $1million (£800,00) deal last month.

The Faroese company, Atlantic was a partner of Iona Energy, which owned the rest of the licenses and which became a high profile victim of the oil downturn when it collapsed into administration last year.

Administrators FTI Consulting said it had struck a conditional deal with Decipher in February to sell the licences for a nominal sum, backed by a complex set of repayments to creditors and bondholders when the asset starts producing.

Mr Bowyer said: “Our aim is to build a portfolio of developments in the North Sea which delivers significant returns for our investors.

“We believe Orlando is the ideal first development and we have been delighted by the positive response and collaborative approach of both the host infrastructure operator CNR International and the rest of the supply chain, with whom we will be working on this and future projects.

“We plan to work closely with an aligned supply chain consortium and are excited by the potential to be at the forefront of the next phase of development of the North Sea.”

The company said Canadian producer CNR is “fully engaged on the project and will lead the Ninian platform modifications”.

Iona had acquired the Orlando and Kells licenses in a deal worth up to £50million in 2012. It was thought the Orlando field would produce14,000 barrels of oil per day.

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