A six-month marketing process has begun for Shell’s 30% holding in the Cambo find west of Shetland.

Field operator Ithaca Energy said securing a new owner for the stake is an important step in the company progressing to a final investment decision.

Cambo is the second-largest undeveloped oil and gas discovery in the UK North Sea. There are an estimated up to 800million barrels of oil in-place, with the first phase expected to recover 170million barrels.

But, at the end of 2021, Shell announced that it had decided not to progress with the project as the investment case was not strong enough.

Analysts have since suggested that the development cost and opposition from climate campaigners may lead to just a small pool of would-be buyers for the Shell holding.

Ithaca currently holds 70% of Cambo, which could be brought into production using a purpose-built floating production vessel.


The company has now signed an agreement with Shell UK which sets out the marketing process for its 30% stake.

There are a number of possible outcomes to this process, including:

  • If Shell does not sell its entire interest to a third party, it could sell any remaining portion to Ithaca.
  • If a potential buyer of the 30% Shell stake wanted a greater stake, Ithaca could sell up to 19.99% of its interest in Cambo.
  • Shell could sell any remaining portion of its own stake to Ithica if not all was sold to a third party.

But, in all sale scenarios, Ithaca would retain at least a 50% interest in Cambo and remain the operator.

Meaningful step

Alan Bruce, chief executive of Ithaca, said: “Our agreement with Shell represents a meaningful step towards the development of Cambo.”

He said the field was a key asset in helping maintain the UK’s future energy security.

The CEO went: “Securing a new owner for Shell’s stake is an important step in Ithaca Energy progressing to final investment decision.

“Ithaca Energy’s primary strategic focus is to maximise sustainable shareholder returns through the delivery of our buy, build and boost strategy, including the future development of Cambo.”

Mr Bruce stressed that Ithaca remained committed to investing in the UK North Sea.

But he also took a swipe at the chancellor’s controversial cash raid on offshore oil and gas producers.

Fiscal instability

“The impact of the amended Energy Profit Levy and the fiscal instability it has created continues to constrain our ability to invest.

“We are actively engaging, in a constructive manner, with the UK Government in pursuit of the fiscal stability required to make critical investment decisions that will support the UK’s long-term energy security.”

Ithaca says that Cambo, with its modern, energy-efficient design and potential for electrification, could be one of the lowest emission-intensity assets in the North Sea.

The field is expected to produce at less than half the CO2 intensity than the average UK field, enabled by the production vessel design which includes features such as being fully electrification ready, have zero routine flaring and a production vessel hull design reducing power demand.

Simon Roddy, Shell’s senior vice president, UK upstream, said: ““Following an internal review, we have decided to sell our 30% working interest in Cambo and have agreed a process with Ithaca Energy for the sale of Shell’s stake in the field this year.

“We wish Ithaca Energy well in the future development of the field, which will be important to maintain the UK’s energy security and to sustaining domestic production of the fuels that people and businesses need.”

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