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Ineos expands into North Sea oil and gas exploration

From BBC - November 20, 2017

Chemicals giant Ineos is making a move into deep water oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

Ineos has bought a majority stake in two exploration licenses in areas far to the north of Shetland, thought to have strong prospects for gas reserves.

It is the latest deal for the privately-owned group which recently branched out into fashion by acquiring the motorcycle wear brand Belstaff.

It also bought Swiss football club Lausanne-Sport earlier this month.

The chemicals firm, which was founded by billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, has agreed with Aberdeen-based Siccar Point Energy, to take on two-thirds of the exploration licences.

Ineos already has stakes in gas fields in the southern North Sea, acquired when it took over the portfolio built up by DONG Energy of Denmark earlier this year.

Tom Crotty of Ineos told Radio 4's Today programme: "It is a big shift [for us], we entered the North Sea just over two years ago, then had a step-up last year.

"We thought it would now be time to step into exploration."

He admitted that at this stage it might not be possible to accurately foresee the amount of gas reserves in the region.

He added: "There is always a risk until until you get into the detail... but we believe we are proficient operators. We are looking to do this at costs that reduce our risks."

Where do Ineos's ambitions end?

Douglas Fraser, business and economy editor, BBC Scotland

Ineos has grown rapidly to take on a widening range of strategically important assets in the UK and far beyond.

It does so with a management team tightly grouped around chairman Jim Ratcliffe, travelling light, nimble in decision-making, and snapping up opportunities while oil, gas and debt remain cheap.

Its roots are firmly in chemicals, with $40bn (30bn) annual sales, and 18,500 employees across 105 sites in 22 countries.

Recoverable gas reserves

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