EnQuest bosses insisted yesterday they had a “compelling” case for the Sullom Voe oil terminal in Shetland, despite fears the facility may lose a key customer.
Chief executive Amjad Bseisu and North Sea managing director Bob Davenport said they were committed to transforming the terminal to make it more competitive.
The site could see “modest” investment to meet demand, they said, adding that ongoing discussions with BP and is partners in the giant Clair field could help to make sure oil flows through the facility for years to come.
They were speaking after London-listed EnQuest announced a doubling of first-half profits, driven by a 27% jump in net production.
Their comments also came just a day after BP North Sea boss Ariel Flores said the energy giant was weighing up whether to keep exporting oil to Sullom Voe from Clair.
EnQuest, which took over operatorship of the terminal from BP in December 2017, said in July that it would have to lay off 80 people by the end of the year in an effort to keep the facility competitive.
Mr Flores said Sullom Voe was still an option for BP and its partners on Clair, but investment in simplifying the terminal was needed quickly. Other technical and commercial export alternatives were being considered, he added.
Yesterday Mr Davenport said: “We’ve already made a commitment to the effect that we are actively working to transform Sullom Voe.
“It is important we do that to remain competitive and keep the oil flowing and economical rates for the long-term.
“Discussions taking place now could see the terminal operating through to the 2050s.
“We are right-sizing the service we are able to offer from the terminal and make sure it is operating competitively.”
The company managed to reduce operating costs at Sullom Voe by 25% to £150 million last year.
But in July it said it needed to lower the bill further, as well as make changes to employees’ terms and conditions.