Parkmead leading efforts to create North Sea mega-hub

Parkmead Group’s boss said yesterday that the Aberdeen firm would stay on the acquisition trail as it leads efforts to create a large North Sea hub.

Executive chairman Tom Cross said Parkmead was looking at several opportunities in the UK and Netherlands as part of its acquisition strategy.

Mr Cross said the firm was in “active negotiations” to beef up its position in the Greater Perth Area (GPA) in the central North Sea.

Parkmead has ambitious plans to transform the GPA into a multi-field development linked to discovered reserves totalling more than 900million barrels of oil.

Mr Cross said London-listed Parkmead was talking to all companies with drilling programmes in and around the GPA to coordinate the project.

Mr Cross said it was “in everyone’s interests” to build a new hub centred in the GPA that could “link everything that’s already been discovered and will be discovered in future.”

He said new infrastructure would be needed to support the plans as existing platforms within reach of the zone were too old to justify a tie-back.

A number of options are being assessed, but a new fixed platform will probably be the best solution, Mr Cross said.

But a final decision will have to wait until drilling has been completed on several nearby fields, including Verbier, a joint venture between Statoil, Jersey Oil and Gas and CIECO E&P.

Parkmead said yesterday that a successful drilling of Verbier could increase the GPA assets’ value, due to their proximity to one another.

Statoil later revealed it had booked a Transocean rig to drill Verbier in summer.

But Parkmead does not intend to stand still while other firms drill. Mr Cross said the business would keep trying to strengthen its control of the GPA.

Mr Cross said: “If we like an area we try to take out all the partners and increase our stake. You’ll see us doing something similar in Greater Perth Area.”

In September, Parkmead increased its interests in the Perth and Dolphin fields to 60.05% from 52.03%.

Faroe Petroleum holds the remaining 39.95% of Perth and Dolphin, which are at the core of the GPA oil hub development.

A month earlier, Parkmead doubled its interests in the nearby Polecat and Marten oil fields to 100%.

Parkmead also owns 30% of Athena, another field which could be tied in with the GPA hub. Other stakeholders in Athena include Ithaca Energy, which owns 22.5%.

Mr Cross added: “We’re going to own and operate the GPA, so it makes sense for us to own as much oil in the area as we can.”

He was speaking after Parkmead revealed it had increased its stakes in two prospects west of Shetland to 100% from 56%.

Parkmead agreed the deal for the remaining 44% with Dutch firm Dyas.

Parkmead said Sanda North and Sanda South could contain 280 million barrels of recoverable oil.

The firm is analysing recently acquired geochemical data from the licence with a view to making a decision on drilling later this year.

Yesterday’s developments boosted Parkmead’s shares 9.63% to 51p.

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