BP (LON:BP) is in talks to sell the North Sea’s biggest pipeline to petrochemical giant Ineos, The Times has reported. The potential sale would come after FTSE 100 peer Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) agreed to offload a package of UK North Sea assets to Chrysaor earlier this year as part of its $30-billion divestment programme.
BP’s share price has gained ground in London today, having climbed 0.30 percent to 460.61p as of 10:19 GMT, largely in line with gains in the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.24 percent higher at 7,433.38 points. The group’s shares have added more than 28 percent over the past year, but are down by just under 10 percent in the year-to-date.
The Times reported that BP and Ineos had confirmed yesterday that they were in talks over the Forties Pipeline System, which carries about 450,000 barrels of oil a day, or about 40 percent of the UK production.
A BP spokesman told the newspaper that it could “confirm it is in discussions with Ineos regarding a potential sale of the Forties Pipeline System”.
“We remain committed to communicating openly with staff and our stakeholders as soon as we are able, and as commercial confidentialities allow, if any deal is confirmed or agreed,” he added. The oil major has about 300 staff employed on operations related to the pipeline system and is understood to have informed them of the potential sale yesterday.
Analysts meanwhile remain upbeat on BP, with Barclays reiterating its ‘overweight’ stance on the group yesterday, with a price target of 625p on the stock. HSBC meanwhile reaffirmed the oil major as a ‘buy,’ valuing the shares at 565p.