Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, and the Norwegian oil and gas explorer Statoil have extended their gas exploration memorandum of understanding, signed in November 2011, until June 2013.
The memorandum, which has already resulted in the companies bidding jointly in the 27th UK North Sea licensing round, was signed to cement collaboration on gas-focused exploration opportunities in Norway and the UK.
In 2011, Centrica signed a ten-year gas supply agreement worth £13bn with Statoil, which secures sufficient gas to meet around 5 per cent of total UK annual demand and caters for around 3.5 million homes.
Centrica also recently completed a £1bn acquisition from Statoil of a package entailing the production and development of oil and gas assets in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, increasing its reserves by 29 per cent.
Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, said:
Centrica’s relationship with Statoil is vital for UK energy security as it brings together one of the world’s largest gas markets with one of the world’s largest gas exporters.
Today’s announcement deepens this relationship and we look forward to working further with Statoil to explore untapped resources across the UK and Norway.
The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:
I’m delighted that Centrica and Statoil are going to continue their successful gas exploration together in Norway and the UK. Gas plays a central role in powering our economy, and today’s agreement will ensure that British companies are at the forefront of discovering new energy sources, helping to secure diverse energy supplies well into the future.