Shell to sell working North Sea oil field

SHELL IS to break new ground by selling off a producing North Sea oil field as crude prices remain near their lowest levels in a decade.

The move to dispose of its 49 per cent stake in the Kingfisher field comes as another oil major, Texaco, postpones its Captain project in the UK North Sea.

Yesterday the critical Brent Blend price for October delivery was at $12.21. This was down from $12.28 on Monday as traders reacted negatively to suggestions that OPEC was not meeting its latest quota cuts.

Shell insisted that oil prices were only one of a number of considerations that dictated the sale. Malcolm Brinded, managing director of Shell UK Exploration and Production, said Kingfisher was "not an asset of strategic importance in our portfolio".

But analysts pointed out that Shell and its partner Esso had just spent pounds 220m bringing the field on stream late last year.

Shell admits it has never before sold a working field in the North Sea although it has bought and sold exploration acreage in the past.

Analysts said Shell had been criticised for not quickly disposing of less profitable assets. One energy specialist said: "Given that we have just seen Shell put up for sale its upstream interests in Thailand, this points to the company trying to become more proactive, as management has promised."

The sale of Kingfisher, which produces 30,000 barrels a day of oil and condensate plus gas, will not herald any job losses.

But Texaco's decision to put back the start-up of Captain is potentially more serious for Britain's hard-pressed offshore fabrication sector, which is desperate for work.

Texaco has told contractors that it will not sanction the project until early next year although it had intended to give the go-ahead this autumn. The company insists the move is not a result of low oil prices.

Like other oil companies Texaco is pulling in its horns in other parts of the world. It plans to close its offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test