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France's Total sells North Sea gas assets

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France's Total sells North Sea gas assets
Tank trucks at French oil giant Total's La Mede refinery in Chateauneuf-les-Martigues. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP
14:12 CEST+02:00
French oil giant Total announced on Thursday it had agreed to sell a North Sea gas terminal and two pipelines in a deal worth over $900 million in a move to help offset falling oil prices.

Total said Britain's North Sea Midstream Partners had agreed to buy the FUKA and SIRGE gas pipelines and the St. Fergus Gas Terminal in Scotland for £585 million ($905 million, €800 million).

The sale is part of Total's effort to sell $10 billion worth of assets between 2015 and 2017, along with reducing new investment and cutting production costs, to compensate for sagging income as oil prices have dropped to their lowest levels since 2009.

The deal announced Thursday follows on the heels of Total's sale last month of stakes in three North Sea gas fields for $873 million, and brings total divestments for the year to $3.5 billion.

"The sale of these midstream transportation assets is another example of Total's strategy of active portfolio management and the strong potential to unlock value from a range of infrastructure assets," Total's chief financial officer Patrick de La Chevardiere said in a statement.

"Transferring ownership to an entity specialising in midstream UK assets creates value for us and ensures a long and bright future for the facilities."

In recent months, Total has also sold stakes in a refinery in Germany for $300 million and its South Africa coal affiliate for $372 million.

Despite Thursday's sale, Total stressed it remained committed to gas exploration and extraction, including North Sea fields.

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