Photo: Catcher FPSO; Source: Harbour Energy

North Sea player doubles its interest in Catcher field

North Sea-focused independent E&P company Waldorf Production is buying the entire UK business of Hungary’s MOL, which will see it double its interest in the Greater Catcher Area in the North Sea.

As informed on Wednesday, Waldorf entered into a binding Sale and Purchase Agreement with a wholly-owned subsidiary of MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas (MOL) for the acquisition of certain of MOL’s UK subsidiaries, comprising their entire UKCS business.

The key UKCS assets being acquired include non-operated interests of 20 per cent in the Greater Catcher Area (GCA), 50 per cent in the Scolty and Crathes fields as well as 21.83 per cent in the Scott and 1.59 per cent in the Telford licences. The transaction has an economic effective date of 1 January 2021, with completion currently expected in the second half of 2022.

BW Catcher FPSO; Source: Harbour Energy

The subsidiaries and assets being acquired will continue to be held by the company after completion. There are no implications for the Nordic Bond issued by Waldorf Production UK Limited on 1 October 2021.

Erik Brodahl, Chief Executive of Waldorf said: “We are excited to acquire MOL’s UK portfolio and by so doing to double our stake in GCA. Pro forma for the transaction Waldorf’s 2021 production increases by c. 55 per cent to c.34,000 boe per day and end 2021 2P reserves by almost a third from 51.6 mmboe to 66.5 mmboe. Waldorf continues to look for further growth opportunities building on its resilient non-operated North Sea production base in the near-term.”

In a separate statement on Wednesday, MOL said that Waldorf offered a base cash consideration of $305 million, which is subject to customary purchase price adjustments. The closing of the transaction is subject to obtaining necessary approvals.

Waldorf has only entered the Catcher project several months ago following the completion of a deal with Cairn Energy. Namely, in March 2021, Cairn agreed to sell its interests in the Catcher (20 per cent) and Kraken (29.5 per cent) fields to Waldorf Production for a cash consideration of $460 million, plus additional contingent consideration dependent principally on oil prices from 2021 to the end of 2025.

The deal was closed by early November 2021, bringing the average production from Waldorf’s assets up to circa 22,000 boe per day and increasing 2P reserves to 52 million boe as of year-end 2020.

Catcher field in the North Sea
Catcher field in the North Sea; Source: Waldorf Production

The Harbour Energy-operated Catcher project lies in block 28/9a of the UK central North Sea approximately 174 kilometres from Aberdeen in water depths of around 90 metres. The area produces from 18 subsea wells on Catcher, Varadero, and Burgman.

These are a combination of production and water injection wells, which are tied back to a newly built and leased FPSO, BW Catcher, owned and operated by BW Offshore. Oil is offloaded by tankers and gas is reinjected into the reservoir. First oil was delivered from Catcher in December 2017, Varadero in January 2018, and Burgman in May 2018.