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This Is Who Will Pay for Shutting Down North Sea Oil Rigs

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s $3.8 billion sale of North Sea oil and gas fields creates a model for further transactions in a region where the question of who pays to remove decades-old offshore platforms has been an obstacle for other deals.

Shell’s agreement with Chrysaor Holdings Ltd. included the condition that Europe’s largest oil company covers $1 billion in decommissioning costs, leaving the private-equity-backed explorer with an estimated $2.9 billion of liabilities. Sharing end-of-life costs between buyers and sellers is likely to remain the trend in the North Sea, where the billions of dollars of spending required to remove aging platforms and pipelines over the coming years presents a “real challenge” to deal-making, according to consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

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