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Canadian pension group has taken €414m from Corrib gas

Gordon Deegan: 2 Oct 2019

The Canadian-owned entity that acquired Shell Ireland’s 45 per cent interest in Corrib gas has already taken €414.8 million in dividends from the operation of the gas field.

Nephin Energy Holdings, which is owned by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, has just filed its first set of accounts since the Canadian group agreed in 2017 to purchase Shell Ireland’s interest in Corrib Gas for €903 million.

Nephin paid a dividend of €382.4 million to its Canadian parent last year and a further €32.4 million in April and May of this year.

Nephin completed the purchase of Shell Ireland’s interest on December 12th last year. It sold on 1.5 per cent of its interest in the field to the new operator, Canadian firm Vermillion, for €25.6 million.

The accounts show that Nephin Energy recorded revenues of €25.2 million last year – for a period representing just under three weeks of production to the end of last December.

The company recorded pre-tax profits of €46.26 million after booking a gain of €39 million on its purchase of Shell’s interest due to an upswing in gas prices in the fourth quarter of last year relative to he date when the purchase price was originally agreed with Shell back in 2017.

The accounts show that the Nephin Group incurred transaction expenses of €9.3 million concerning the Shell deal.

Corrib Gas Field

At the end of December, Nephin had total assets of €679.7 million, relating primarily to its interest in the Corrib Gas Field.

Key management personnel last year at the company were paid €1.13 million.

A spokesman for Nephin Energy stated today: “Nephin is very pleased with how Corrib has performed since operatorship transferred from Shell to Vermilion as part of the transaction.

“The gas produced from Corrib continues to make a very significant contribution towards meeting Ireland’s energy needs, supplying up to 60 per cent of Ireland’s gas requirements during the accounting period in question.”

On the issue of further exploration for gas off the Co Mayo coast, the spokesman stated: “We will be looking at what options may be available to us to extend the life of the assets in north Mayo.”

He said the dividends “mostly represented cash that had built up in the acquired business from gas sales during the previous years”.

No corporate tax was payable on the 2018 profit because of the very significant tax losses that exist in the business. “These losses transferred to Nephin when Nephin bought Shell’s stake last year,” the spokesman said. “The consideration paid for the business would have factored in these losses.”


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