North Sea change of guard as big oil sells to new private-equity players

The oil-focused portfolio includes Total-operated fields. (AFP)
Updated 11 July 2019
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North Sea change of guard as big oil sells to new private-equity players

  • Total’s overall production in Britain was 185,000 boed last year, according to its website, with gas accounting for more than half

Omani oil group Petrogas and private equity fund HitecVision have teamed up to buy a portfolio of Total’s British North Sea oilfields for $635 million, the companies said on Wednesday.
The fields, which are set to produce 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boed) this year, will be owned by a subsidiary of the two groups called Petrogas NEO UK which they want to expand to produce more than 100,000 boed with two to three years.
The British North Sea has seen a change of guard since the oil price collapsed to below $30 a barrel in 2016 with big companies selling fields to new private-equity backed operators seeking to squeeze more barrels out of the mature basin and then exit.
HitecVision, an offshore energy-focused fund with $5.5 billion under management, last December partnered with Eni to build Var Energi, now one of Norway’s largest producers at 169,000 boed. It has already paid out $1 billion in dividends just to HitecVision shareholders in Var. HitecVision plans to turn Petrogas NEO — controlled equally by the two partners — into a UK version of Var.

HIGHLIGHTS

● Portfolio to sell for $635m, effective Jan. 2019.

● New vehicle Petrogas NEO to produce 25,000 boed.

● Owners aim to increase Petrogas NEO output to 100,000 boed.

“The current acquisition is the first step ... and provides a fundament for further expansion through organic and in-organic activities,” Petrogas NEO’s owners said in a statement.
Asked about a stock market listing of the new vehicle, HitecVision senior partner John Knight said there were many possible exits for a private equity firm. These include mergers, dividend payouts and sales to financial investors, he said, adding HitecVision was looking at opportunities for consolidation within its portfolio.
Hitecvision also owns Verus Petroleum which produces around 17,000 boed.
Wednesday’s deal is backdated to Jan. 1 this year and expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending regulatory approval.
The oil-focused portfolio includes Total-operated fields Dumbarton, Balloch, Lochranza, Drumtochty, Flyndre, Affleck, Cawdor and minority stakes in CNOOC-operated Golden Eagle, Scott and Telford, the buyers said.
Several fields can be developed further to squeeze as many barrels as possible from the portfolio.
Total’s overall production in Britain was 185,000 boed last year, according to its website, with gas accounting for more than half.


What We Are Reading Today: Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins

Updated 21 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins

  • The book is a historical novel based on the first females that were accepted and lived on campus at Yale

Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins is a historical novel based on the first females that were accepted and lived on campus at Yale starting the summer term of 1969.

“This is an academic work although written in a very accessible style for the average reader,” said a review in goodreads.com.

It said the book “started as a graduate paper and morphed into a dissertation over time.”

The review also said Perkins “really allows readers into the lives of several of the students and one administrator in particular.”

It said the author “straddles the line nicely between fitting in the comprehensive detailed research she managed and making it interesting enough that someone mighty think it was a novel.”

Perkins grew up in Baltimore and attended Yale University, where she earned her BA in history and was the first woman editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News. 

She has spent her life in education, from urban high school teacher to elected school committee member. 

She has presented papers on higher education at leading conferences.

Although Yale Needs Women’s principal focus is on, well, women at Yale, Perkins also weaves in a lot of events that were also happening at the time and impacted Yale life, such at the Black Panther movement and the Vietnam War.