Reported Conoco talks could double BP’s Clair field stake

Oil giant BP is in talks with ConocoPhillips over a swap deal that could almost double its stake in a major North Sea field, a news report said.

BP, as operator, has a 28.6% interest in the huge Clair field and is considering a swoop for ConocoPhillips’ 24% stake, Bloomberg reported.

US firm ConocoPhillips would take some of BP’s assets in Alaska in exchange, the report said, adding no final decisions have been reached.

The Clair field, west of Shetland, is being developed in phases.

Production from the first phase got under way in 2005 with a target of delivering 300 million barrels. The second phase of development, which could yield 640 million barrels, is the Clair Ridge project. It involves the construction of two bridge-linked platforms, a process completed in 2016.

Hook-up and commissioning is now well under way, with first oil expected this year.

The other partners in the Clair field are Shell, with 28% and Chevron, with 19.4%.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that ConocoPhillips was considering an exit from the North Sea.

Executives spoke to bankers and other North Sea operators in recent weeks to gauge their interest in the assets, according to the report, which cited industry and banking sources.

BP and ConocoPhillips declined to comment.

Last month ConocoPhillips said it would lay off about 450 workers across the UK over the next two years. The losses would be spread out and it was not yet clear how many Granite-City-based workers will be affected.

Also in April, BP and partners said they would invest £420m in developing the Alligin and Vorlich satellite fields, with first oil from both slated for 2020.

BP has sold a number of North Sea assets in recent years.

It sold 25% of the Magnus field and 3% of the Sullom Voe Terminal to EnQuest and offloaded the Forties pipeline to Ineos.

In November, BP struck a deal to sell stakes in the Bruce, Keith and Rhum fields to Serica Energy.

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