ENERGY giant Centrica has signed a £14bn deal with Norwegian oil major Statoil to develop oil and gas assets in the North Sea and supply gas to the UK for a decade.
Centrica, the owner of British Gas, said it had acquired £1bn of energy assets in Kvitebjørn in the Norwegian North Sea from Statoil that is expected to add 117m barrels of oil equivalent to its annual production.
It has also agreed with Statoil to supply 50bn cubic metres (bcm) of gas from Norway to the UK for 10 years starting in 2015, equivalent to supplying about five per cent of total UK annual demand – or to 3.5m homes.
Centrica said the agreement made it an operator of production assets in Norway for the first time.
It added that the deal would improve the UK’s energy security by ensuring a safe supply of natural gas worth more than £50bn over the lifetime of the deal.
“Centrica is at the forefront of helping to deliver UK energy security and our strategic relationship with Statoil links us to one of the world’s largest gas exporters and a natural partner to the UK,” said chief executive Sam Laidlaw.
“As well as being the second largest gas producer in the UK, we also have one of the fastest growing exploration and production businesses on the Norwegian continental shelf.”
The firm said tax was one factor in its decision to invest with Norway, hinting at the £10bn tax raid on UK oil and gas firms announced by George Osborne in this year’s Budget.
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the deal for giving the UK a supply of gas “from a trusted and reliable neighbour”.