Centrica plc, the owner of British Gas, today announced it is adding to its gas assets in the North Sea by acquiring 50 per cent of the equity in gas fields held by Sojitz Energy Project Limited for $70 million (£36 million) in cash. The agreement will see Centrica taking additional equity in gas fields which it already operates, following its acquisition of Newfield UK in September 2007. The investment, after associated capital expenditure, is expected to add a further 32 billion cubic feet of reserves to Centrica's portfolio over the next three years. This builds on the 300 billion cubic feet of reserves secured through the acquisition of Newfield UK last autumn.
Following completion of the deal, which is conditional on certain third party consents, Centrica will hold a 92.5 per cent interest in the producing Grove field and a 90 per cent interest in the Seven Seas development, the Sloop gas discovery and associated exploration acreage.
Since the acquisition of Newfield UK, Centrica has seen higher than expected production from the Grove field. The addition of offshore compression facilities and another well in late 2008 are expected to further increase production rates.
Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica, said: "This agreement will build on our acquisition of Newfield UK and gives us further interests in gas assets where we already have a strong position.
"It also reaffirms our continued commitment to additional upstream investment to increase our level of energy resources to supply our British Gas and European customers."