Weeks After The Nationalists Promised An Oil Boom For Scotland, One Of The North Sea's Biggest Producers Calls It Quits

Oil rigREUTERS/ Vivek PrakashApache UK operations amounted to 72,118 barrel a day in 2014.

Remember when Scottish Nationalists promised that North Sea oil production would buoy the nascent nation’s post-independence economy?

Well, the North Sea’s third-largest oil producer has put its operations up for sale, as reported by The Sunday Times. It doesn’t want to continue drilling there.

The move comes only two weeks after the Scottish voted “no” to independence in their referendum. Oil production was a hot topic in the contest, with the independence front claiming that Scotland would be better off without the rest of the UK thanks to the oil revenue that belongs to Scotland.

Apache Corp., an American oil and gas producer that also operates in Egypt and Australia, first entered the British North Sea in 2003, and it specialised in buying mature fields and revitalizing them. Its strategy has changed, however, despite 150 million barrels of proved reserves still in the field. These include the UK’s largest oil field, located in the Forties basin.

It is understood that Apache would now focus on the domestic boom of shale gas, and the international operations are meant to be spun off: “We are evaluating the separation of our international business through capital markets or strategic transactions,” Steve Farris, Chairman and CEO, said.

UK’s Apache production was at 1.4 million barrels in 2013, making it the third-largest operator after BP and Royal Dutch Shell. As a reminder, North Sea Oil is actually in decline, the Times says:

North Sea production has fallen from its 1999 high of 4.5m barrels a day to only 1.4m barrels last year.

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