Ineos closes Danish deal

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - BUSINESS -

Petro­chem­i­cal gi­ant Ineos has com­pleted its £1bil­lion deal to buy the oil and gas in­ter­ests of Den­mark’s Dong En­ergy.

Ineos said it was now the “biggest pri­vate en­ter­prise op­er­at­ing in the North Sea”.

A to­tal of 430 staff are trans­fer­ring into the group’s oil and gas busi­ness as a re­sult of a deal giv­ing Ineos 50 North Sea li­cences in Den­mark, Nor­way and the UK – equat­ing to an av­er­age of 100,000 bar­rels of oil equiv­a­lent a day.

Ineos oil and gas chief ex­ec­u­tive Geir Tuft said: “Dong En­ergy’s oil and gas busi­ness is a nat­u­ral fit . . . as we con­tinue to grow our oil and gas ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ineos be­gan build­ing a North Sea port­fo­lio in 2015, buy­ing 12 UK North Sea fields from Dea. com­mis­sion­ing ser­vices. Its pur­pose-built fa­cil­i­ties at Dales Voe and Green­head Base in Shet­land are cur­rently han­dling the de­com­mis­sion­ing of the 12,000tonne Buchan Al­pha oil pro­duc­tion ves­sel, while the Le­man plat­form is be­ing dis­man­tled in Great Yar­mouth.

Peter­son has also made sig­nif­i­cant progress on a col­lab­o­ra­tive scheme, along with North Sea op­er­a­tors, to fa­cil­i­tate ves­sel and other re­source shar­ing through a for­mal pool ar­range­ment.

The com­pany said it was eye­ing “good op­por­tu­ni­ties in­ter­na­tion­ally”, con­tin­u­ing a growth strat­egy which last year saw more than £2mil­lion in­vested in “ex­port­ing our lo­gis­tics mod­els to new ter­ri­to­ries”.

It added: “We ex­pect to ben­e­fit from a good con­tri­bu­tion from th­ese in 2017.”

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Er­win Kooij said: “Peter­son has de­liv­ered a pos­i­tive per­for­mance in what con­tin­ues to be a chal­leng­ing time for the en­ergy sec­tor.

“We in­creased our in­vest- ment in as­sets to £3.8mil­lion, in­clud­ing a new port crane, trucks and trail­ers in Aberdeen. In ad­di­tion, we have our third har­bour crane be­ing built in Aberdeen this month.

“The group’s UK-based com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Peter­son UK Ltd, 80:20 Pro­cure­ment Ser­vices, Peter­son Freight Man­age­ment, LS Cus­toms, Core 29 and StreamBA, con­trib­uted much of the group’s op­er­at­ing profit.”

Peter­son said North Sea rev­enue was down by 5% at £197mil­lion last year, with this and a fall in prof­its re­flect­ing the “on­go­ing re­duc­tion in ac­tiv­ity in the re­gion and the im­pact of a tougher pric­ing en­vi­ron­ment in 2016”.

Mr Kooij said: “De­spite th­ese mar­ket con­di­tions, we suc­cess­fully re­tained ex­ist­ing con­tracts with CNR, BP, Eni, Siemens, NorthLink and Cen­trica, and were awarded new con­tracts with Cono­coPhillips, Sta­toil, Tech­nip, Chrysaor, Dong, Dana, and Ithaca.

“Devel­op­ing our re­la­tion- ship built in the south­ern North Sea, we were awarded a five-year in­te­grated lo­gis­tics con­tract with Shell for the north­ern North Sea and now pro­vide sup­ply base and lo­gis­tics op­er­a­tions sup­port for all Shell’s North Sea as­sets.

“Peter­son Group ap­proaches its cen­te­nary in 2020 with a strong bal­ance sheet.”

The group was es­tab­lished in 1920 as a fam­i­ly­owned in­spec­tion com­pany for grain, which was traded and trans­ported on the rivers and canals of the Nether­lands.

Peter­son now op­er­ates in more than 70 coun­tries, em­ploy­ing around 4,000 peo­ple glob­ally. It has 520 peo­ple in the Aberdeen area, up by 30% fol­low­ing re­cent con­tract wins. Oil and gas sup­port ser­vices com­pany Asco Group nar­rowed losses dur­ing 2016 de­spite fac­ing “ex­tremely ag­gres­sive” com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket.

The Aberdeen firm said in its lat­est ac­counts a gen­eral down­ward trend in quay­side work was off­set by the sig­nif­i­cant drilling ac­tiv­ity of one of its lo­cal clients.

But it was pric­ing rather than vol­umes that were the biggest fea­ture of 2016, Asco said, adding: “One com­peti­tor has been ex­tremely ag­gres­sive on pric­ing.

“As a re­sult, we have lost a sig­nif­i­cant con­tract in Aberdeen and may lose another in Trinidad.

“Th­ese have not ma­te­ri­ally af­fected 2016 re­sults as the losses gen­er­ally came late in the year but they will af­fect fi­nan­cial per­for­mance in 2017 and 2018.

“This will in part be off­set by the start-up in the North Sea of a sig­nif­i­cant new client”.

The ac­counts, just re­leased by Com­pa­nies House, show Asco’s work­force shrank by more than 400 to about 1,600 peo­ple last year.

Pre-tax losses nar­rowed to £41.75mil­lon, from £63.8mil­lion in 2015, while rev­enue fell by about 16% to £454.8mil­lion.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Brown said Asco’s Peter­head oper­a­tion gen­er­ated the most prof­its.

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