Enterprise unveils pounds 100m swap

Enterprise Oil yesterday unveiled a pounds 100m asset swap with BP which will strengthen its presence in the North Sea and end its involvement in the British Gas take-or-pay saga.

BP is exchanging its 43 per cent interest in the Pierce field in return for Enterprise's interests in two gas fields, Amethyst and Ravenspurn North.

The Pierce field contains an estimated 100 million barrels of oil and is due to go into production in the third quarter of next year. The asset swap will result in Enterprise becoming the operator of the field with a 74 per cent stake.

Pierce is next to the Nelson field in the central North Sea which contains an estimated 400 million barrels and is already operated by Enterprise. A spokesman said: "This asset swap sits very happily with our strategy of building a modern portfolio of new oil assets."

The field will cost about pounds 150m to bring on stream and involves building a floating production and storage vessel tied to wells located in two subsea centres. The go-ahead for the development is expected in the middle of the year. The other companies with an interest in Pierce are Ranger Oil, MOC Exploration, Agip and Santos.

Mark Hope, Enterprise's technical director, said: "This is good news for both companies. Enterprise will be able to maximise the potential of Pierce through our experience in the central North Sea and BP will be able to derive greater value from the assets in which they are already significant players."

The asset swap will increase BP's interest in Amethyst to 45.4 per cent and in Ravenspurn North to 33.5 per cent.

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