UK North Sea explorer First Oil Expro goes into administration due to decline in brent crude price

Suzie Neuwirth
Cabinets From Both UK And Scottish Governments Meet In North East Scotland
UK North Sea oil explorers are struggling (Source: Getty)

First Oil Expro, an Aberdeen-based UK North Sea oil explorer, has gone into administration.

Two other oil companies, Enquest and Cairn Energy, have taken on the company's 15 per cent stake in the Kraken North Sea oil field. Enquest will now have a 70.5 per cent holding and Cairan 29.5 per cent.

Parent company First Oil started reviewing its operations last year after the sharp decline in the oil price ate into profit margins. It had already begun the process of putting certain assets on the block.

Read more: Oil prices set to stay low in 2017

Zennor Petroleum has bought a number of First Oil's other assets in the UK North Sea.

Jim Tucker, joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG, said that the fact First Oil Expro sold off the assets via an administration process "is a reflection of the significant challenges facing UK North Sea oil and gas companies in the current oil price environment".

"These sales will ensure that the group’s four largest field interests are smoothly transferred to new ownership, and provide time to resolve the position concerning the smaller assets in the group’s portfolio," he added.

Oil explorers in the UK North Sea have struggled to stay afloat since the oil price plummeted, even with hefty government subsidies. The UK North Sea contains very mature fields, where oil is more difficult - and thus more costly - to extract.

Read more: UK oil baron Algy Cluff warns UK North Sea is on brink of destruction

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