Maersk Oil announced Wednesday it is seeking the permission of the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority to shut its Janice installation, which produces approximately 7,000 bpd from three oilfields in the UK North Sea. The company is seeking approval to stop production from the second or third quarter of 2016. The move comes as the Danish company reviews its operations amid low oil prices.
Maersk’s move is significant because while oil companies have reduced headcounts and sold oilfields, few have sought permission to shutdown operations.
Maersk Oil Janice production platform; Credit: controlinduction.co.uk
The company said in a Wednesday statement, “In terms of what happens to the fields, that will be covered by our proposals in the plan that we submit to the UK Oil & Gas Authority…Permission to cease production would then lead to a decommissioning program for the Janice FPU [floating production unit] and this would be submitted to the regulatory authorities.”
Maersk Oil has already reduced its workforce by 200 at its Copenhagen headquarters, and at its Qatar and UK businesses. And more job cuts could be on the way in the UK. COO Gretchen Watkins said, “All options will be explored through the UK-led consultation process to minimize impact on job positions, but it is possible that an estimated 200 roles may be affected.”
The company also said it is considering enacting a “three weeks on, three weeks off” offshore rotation which would take effect in the UK in 2Q16.
Earlier this month, the Maersk Group said a variety of targets for its oil-related subsidiaries- also including Maersk Drilling, APM Shipping Services and APM Terminals- would be replaced because of the volatile oil price environment.