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Enquest chase BP for £26m unpaid debt

Enquest chase BP for £26m unpaid debt


UK based petroleum exploration and production company, EnQuest, has recently launched a legal claim against BP worth around £26 million as they, allegedly, failed to pay invoices relating to Sullom Voe Terminal located in Shetland. 

EnQuest Heather Limited is claiming for covers from the period of 2013 to 2017, this can all be seen from legal documents which have been handed to the High Court of Justice in London. 

In 2017, EnQuest took over as the operator of the Sullom Voe Terminal from BP and much of their legal claim involves the gas sweetening plant at the terminal, which is operated by BP. 

Clair oil field which is provided services by the Sullom Voe terminal also came up in the legal claim over the payment of costs. The field is operated by BP and connects to the terminal via pipeline. 

The legal claim against BP states that in 2017 there was an audit that was carried out by the terminal owners at the time regarding the 2015 calendar year. 

It is claimed that “failings” have been found in the way that personnel have been working within the terminal when it came to recording their time which means that it could not have been accurately allocated between the terminal and owner. 

The claim also said the audit showed “failings in the codes and systems used for allocation purposes, with the result that direct costs in fact incurred in the provision of services” to and for terminal users were not being allocated to users when they were supposed to be. 

“It was therefore the case that the Clair owners and the sweetening facilities owner [which BP appears on behalf of] had not paid in full for the services provided to them,” the claim said.

“Furthermore, since the same systems for time-recording and cost allocation had been in place for the years 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, it was the case that the Clair owners and the sweetening facilities owners had not paid in full for the services provided to them for any of those years either.” 

According to the legal documents the terminal owners reached an agreement over the first “fault”, but not the second. 

Correcting invoices were then issued in April 2019 to BP in respect to the year of 2015 to reflect adjustments, with more then following, 

The legal documents state that BP then paid some of the invoices but not all.    

EnQuest say the invoices are subject to “pay now, dispute later”, in which companies pay the money now and then raise any potential disputes with the terminal owners. 

BP are claiming declarations as its contractual rights, along with the unpaid invoices. 

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE.

Published: 14-01-2021

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