Apache has marked two decades of ownership of the giant Forties field in the North Sea.

The US-based operator hit the 20-year anniversary over the weekend of April 2-3 from the date it bought the field over from BP.

“Twenty years ago today, we entered the North Sea after acquiring the Forties Field,” the company posted on social media on Sunday.

“Over the last two decades, we have actively invested in Forties, extending the life of the field. Thank you to our North Sea team for 20 years of hard work and success.”

It has been more than 50 years since oil was first struck on Forties, which is one of – if not the – most important fields in the North Sea.

BP sold the “jewel in its crown” to the firm in 2003, when Apache had no track record in the UK North Sea.

But the transfer gave Forties a new lease of life.

Apache quickly provided reassurances that all 230 staff on the five platforms and 35 onshore employees would be offered a job with the firm.

A couple of weeks on from the deal’s announcement, then-Energy Minister Brian Wilson said he was “extremely impressed” after meeting managers from the buyer.

He described the purchase as a “win-win” for the North Sea and the UK Government, which wanted to see assets placed in the right hands.

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