Ineos rapped by judge for Apache deal price hike on North Sea pipeline
◆ A judge has ruled that Sir Jim’s Ratcliffe’s industrial empire Ineos should not have tried to hike the fee paid by a rival to access a key North Sea pipeline, writes Rachel Millard.
US company Apache wanted more of its oil to be taken through Ineos’s Forties Pipeline System, but Ineos said it would only do so if Apache paid more per barrel than Apache thought it should pay.
Mr Justice Foxton concluded: “Ineos is acting non-contractually by withholding consent to an amendment unless Apache agrees to increase the base tariff payable.”
Ineos bought the pipeline from BP in October 2017, and is spending £500m to maintain and improve it.
The standard tariff for the pipeline is £1 per barrel. Under an agreement with former owners BP, Apache had paid 60p until 2012 when its tariff was increased to £1.20 until 2020. Apache wanted Ineos to revert to the 60p rate.
Ineos said it was disappointed with the outcome. A spokesman added: “This case was unique to these oilfields as their contracts are different to all other Forties Pipeline System customers. We will work with all our customers to provide safe, reliable and competitive transportation.”