Redetermining interests in an oil field is a struggle over positions and power, with prestige and money naturally lurking in the background. Each company adopts the standpoint it feels will give it the best return. Keeping its cards close to its chest is also important, because the process can have different outcomes.
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Selling the Statfjord gas
Gas has been used in many European countries since the19th century, but it was first in the 1960s – after the Netherlands began production and exports from the major Groningen field – that a common market for this commodity emerged in Europe. The SovietUnion, Algeria and Norway gradually followed the Dutch as gas exporters in the1970s and 1980s. An infrastructure for production, transport, storage andconsumption was constructed as demand increased.
An agreement was entered into on how the various tanker cargoes from Statfjord were to be apportioned between the licensees in order to ensure that they got their correct share of oil output. The biggest licensee, Statoil, received the first cargo, while the next went to Conoco as the second largest. A sequence then followed which meant that each partner secured its entitlement over a certain period. That included the UK share, which involved a separate set of licensees.