BP is in talks with chemicals giant Ineos to sell the North Sea’s largest and oldest oil pipeline, which is used to transport the crude that prices the global Brent benchmark.
The pipeline system is around 100 miles long. It transports oil from the unmanned offshore Unity platform in the North Sea to the onshore terminal at Cruden Bay near Aberdeen. From here 130 miles of onshore pipes carry the oil to the Kinneil terminal near Ineos’s Grangemouth oil refinery.
The companies both confirmed the talks, which first emerged this time last year but were believed to have collapsed last summer amid a disagreement over how to price the assets.
An Ineos spokesperson said the company is currently in discussions with BP regarding the potential purchase of the Forties Pipeline System, which carries around 40pc of all UK oil production.
The pipeline carries oil from the North Sea to Ineos’ Grangemouth oil refinery.
“At the moment the details of these conversations are confidential and we cannot say any more at this stage,” the spokesperson said.
BP added that it is committed to communicating openly with the pipeline’s 300 staff and stakeholders as soon as it is able to say if any deal is agreed.
The pipeline was originally built to transport one million barrels of oil from the Forties field, which was discovered in 1970, to the Grangemouth refinery near Edinburgh.
BP sold its interests in the Forties field to Apache in 2003 and sold Grangemouth refinery and chemical plants to Ineos in 2005. Grangemouth is now Ineos’s largest manufacturing site by volume of products, and home to Scotland’s only crude oil refinery which produces the bulk of the country’s fuels.
The use of the pipeline has been in steady decline as North Sea oil production from the central region of the oil basin dwindles and currently transport 450,000 barrels of oil.