The Guardian (UK): In brief: BP to sell stake in Ormen Lange: “Ormen Lange was the focus of one of Shell's reserve cuts this year.” (ShellNews.net)
Wednesday October 20, 2004
BP is in talks to sell its 10% stake in the offshore Norwegian gas field of Ormen Lange, it said yesterday.
Ormen Lange was the focus of one of Shell's reserve cuts this year. Under pressure its partner in the field, Norsk Hydro, downgraded its bookings but fellow shareholder BP stuck to its guns, retaining an estimate up to four times more optimistic than Shell's.
Analysts said the planned sale was good for BP. It is thought the stake could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and BP wants to use the cash for more strategic projects.
"It gives it the chance to invest the cash more efficiently, it distances BP from the reserves issue and enables it to avoid large capital expenditure," said Jason Kenney, ING's head of oil and gas equity research.
Industry sources said it would make sense for a UK gas supplier such as Centrica to buy the field.
Norsk Hydro and Shell declined to comment on whether they would be interested in BP's stake.