BP wins US waiver to sell gas fields
BP will be able to move ahead with a long-awaited sale of a clutch of its North Sea gas fields after winning a waiver from US authorities to allow the deal to go ahead.
US financial sanctions on Iran had threatened to derail the £300m sale to Serica Energy because Iran’s stateowned oil producer IOC owns a stake in one of the North Sea fields included in the package. The US has now granted an exemption that means all revenues from the field owed to IOC will be held in escrow for as long as sanctions apply.
In addition, IOC will be stripped of any decisionmaking powers regarding the Rhum field. There had been worries that the field, in the northern North Sea off the coast of Shetland, could have been shut down while the sanctions were in force. Rhum supplies about 3pc of the UK’s gas.
Serica Energy’s share price jumped by a third following the waiver.
Mitch Flegg, Serica’s chief executive, said the exemption should clear the path for the deal, which also includes the Bruce and Keith fields, to complete by the end of next month. BP and Serica UK have agreed on Nov 30 as the revised completion date for sale.