Ineos steps up North Sea drive with $1.3bn Dong deal

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The Danish energy company DONG Energy is coming through on its pledge to embrace a sustainable and fossil-free future by divesting its oil and gas assets for 8.7 billion kroner to the British chemical firm Ineos.

"DONG Energy's Oil & Gas Business is a natural fit for INEOS as we continue to expand our Upstream interests", founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe said.

As part of the acquisition, Ineos, which bought DEA's and part of Fairfield's United Kingdom portfolio in 2015, will pay $150 million related to the Fredericia stabilisation plant and a contingent payment of up to $100 million subject to the development of the Rosebank field, operated by Chevron, west of Shetland.

"I can't say if and when we make a final decision, but there's significant reserves in those fields that we clearly would be looking to extract", Geir Tuft, head of Ineos' existing oil and gas activities, told Reuters.

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Tycoon Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos is in line to become the biggest private enterprise operating in the North Sea after it agreed to acquire the oil and gas business of Dong Energy for an unconditional payment of $1.05bn (£808m), the company confirmed on Wednesday (24 May). Its main producing assets include the Ormen Lange, Syd Arne and Laggan-Tormore fields.

Tom Crotty, a director at the firm, added: "North Sea assets are in decline and most owners don't want to be there".

The sale is a blow to shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk AS, which had sought to merge its oil and gas business with DONG into a company worth more than $10 billion as part of a major restructuring.

Ineos will assume all decommissiong liabilities associated with the business.

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No jobs are expected to be lost as a result of the takeover and all 440 Dong Energy staff will transfer to Ineos.

Also this month, Neptune Oil & Gas Ltd. agreed to buy a majority stake in French utility Engie's E&P business for $3.9 billion.

The acquisition and transfer of ownership is targeted to complete within Q3 2017, subject to the receipt of regulatory and other third party approvals.

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