x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Taqa close to restoring flow in North Sea oil pipeline

Taqa has restored most of the North Sea crude flow that was interrupted last week by an accident at a platform operated by the Abu Dhabi company.

Taqa has restored most of the North Sea crude flow that was interrupted last week by an accident at a platform operated by the Abu Dhabi company.

"The flow in the Brent pipeline system has now been restored up to levels around 80,000 barrels per day," said a Taqa spokesman yesterday.

After a leak was reported at the Cormorant Alpha platform on January 15, Taqa shut down the Brent System Oil Pipeline, preventing exports of 90,000 barrels per day (bpd), about 10 per cent of British production.

The well at the Cormorant Alpha platform remains dormant, leaving the pipeline 10,000 bpd short of its usual throughput. At current Brent prices, every day of lost production costs Taqa more than US$1 million (Dh3.67m) in revenue.

Brent oil is one of the four North Sea crudes that constitute the Brent futures benchmark, and interruption has been held responsible for bolstering prices in an otherwise bearish market. Brent closed at US$110 a barrel on January 15, falling by more than a dollar, but was still trading higher at $112 yesterday.

Taqa, also known as Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, operates both the platform and the pipeline via its Taqa Bratani subsidiary. It wholly owns Cormorant Alpha and shares ownership of the transit system with the other producers in the area.

The Brent System Oil Pipeline links up several fields with Comorant Alpha and the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal in the Scottish Shetland Isles.

Taqa derives all of its crude from the United Kingdom's North Sea. In the first nine months of the year, Taqa's UK production averaged 42,600 bpd. In November, the company bought BP assets in British waters for just more than $1 billion, increasing its production by 21,000 bpd.

The acquisition of BP's assets followed a change in UK tax laws, which offset tax rises with breaks for decommissioning old assets and developing new fields.

Taqa is keen to carve out a niche in oil and gas production abroad. Other than the mature oilfields in the UK, it produces gas in North America. It is also developing the Bergermeer gas storage facility in the Netherlands.

The company is the majority-owner of all of Abu Dhabi's power plants, and plans to invest billions in coal-fired plants in Turkey. It holds other power generation assets throughout the Middle East.

 

fneuhof@thenational.ae