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BBC News: Shell to sell North Sea interests

BBC News Photograph

(Included in the sale are interests in the Tern oilfield)
Shell and Esso have announced they are putting their joint interests in a number of North Sea oilfields up for sale. These include the Cormorant Alpha and Cormorant North, Tern, Eider, Kestrel and Pelican fields.

Shell said “many” of its 400 onshore and offshore staff who are affected are expected to transfer to the new buyers.

A planned expansion of its Aberdeen operational headquarters has been abandoned as a result of the decision.

Aberdeen University oil economist Professor Alex Kemp said Shell appeared to be selling its mature fields, which are not producing a lot of oil, to companies which specialise in late oilfield life.

A similar strategy has been adopted by BP on several occasions.

Shell and Esso have also confirmed they are in negotiation with Fairfield Energy for the sale of their interests in the Dunlin cluster of fields.

‘Long-term returns’

Tom Botts, executive vice-president of Shell Exploration and Production in Europe, said the assets it is selling are not “core” to the future of the business.

“These are relatively high cost assets within our European portfolio, where other operators might be better placed to add value,” he said.

“At Shell, we are committed to focus on where we can best use our people, capital and technologies, for competitive long-term returns and on a global basis.”

Mr Botts said Shell remains committed to Europe and the North Sea.

He said in 2006, the assets which the firm are selling represent less than 3% of Shell’s European production.

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