Centrica looks to Ashurst for advice on gas field gains

Ashurst is advising longstanding client Centrica on its £318.6m acquisition of interests in four North Sea gas fields.


Ashurst is advising longstanding client Centrica on its £318.6m acquisition of interests in four North Sea gas fields.

Michael Johns, an Ashurst energy, transport and infrastructure partner, advised Centrica Resources on the acquisition of the non-operating interests from US independent energy company Kerr-McGee. Johns worked closely with Centrica general counsel Nick Lumley on the deal.

Under the agreement, Centrica obtains a 33 per cent interest in both the Buckland and Skene fields, run by ExxonMobil, an 8 per cent interest in Marathon’s Brae field and a 6.66 per cent interest in the Andrew field operated by BP. It will also hold a 4 per cent interest in Exxon’s SAGE gas pipeline system and will have an interest in future exploration opportunities.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partner Peter Streatfeild advised existing client Kerr-McGee alongside energy head Jonathan Rees and tax partner David Taylor.

Ashurst’s relationship with Centrica goes back several years and has seen the firm advise on a number of headline deals. These include acting on the August 2003 acquisition of Barry Power Station from AES and the September 2002 acquisition of Electricity Direct by Centrica subsidiary British Gas Trading.

However, the firm advised Barclays Capital rather than Centrica on the debt financing of last year’s mammoth £1.35bn sale of the AA to CVC and Permira. Linklaters advised Centrica on that occasion.