JX Nippon Exploration and Production has agreed to sell its entire 45% working interest in UK licence P312 Block 16/18a to Statoil (UK).

The agreement will also see transferring the block’s licence operatorship, which consists of a part of the Utgard gas and condensate field in the North Sea.

Previously known as the Alfa Sentral field, Utgard spans the UK-Norway median line in the North Sea and was discovered in the 1980s.

A part of the Utgard Field is located in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) licence PL046 operated by Statoil.

Statoil is the existing partner in the UK licence.

"Utgard spans the UK-Norway median line in the North Sea and was discovered in the 1980s."

JX Nippon said that the sale is being carried out as a part of the fundamental revision of its upstream portfolio and optimisation of the investment level, which has been designed to improve financial performance.

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Upon closing of the transaction, subject to regulatory approvals, Statoil’s interest in UK licence P312 will be increased to 100%.

The company operates in the NCS licence PL046 with a 62% holding.

Utgard is planned to be developed as a tie-back to existing infrastructure on the NCS for Sleipner operated by Statoil.

A final investment decision for Utgard is set to take place before the end of this year and production is expected to begin in 2020.

Image: The Sleipner field in the North Sea. Photo: courtesy of Øyvind Hagen / Statoil.