Since the US company had an oil refinery in Teesside, it quickly began to steer in the direction of this UK port as the landfall solution for Ekofisk crude.
The committee soon rejected the option of bringing the dry gas ashore in Norway, because the country had no domestic market for this commodity. But whether Britain or continental Europe was the best alternative remained an open question.
Soundings by the Phillips group over the sale of Ekofisk gas began as early as the autumn of 1970, in parallel with the work of the committee.
Initial meetings were held with many potential customers, but a number of these dropped out after it became clear that the group wanted to sell all the gas under a single contract.
Few gas distributors were so large that they could handle such quantities. After Tor and West Ekofisk had been found, the total volume on offer reached about one billion cubic feet per day.
Four relevant buyer constellations remained – Ruhrgas in West Germany, Gasunie in the Netherlands, the British Gas Corporation and a consortium of German chemical groups.
Tucker, who was head of the department for gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) at the Phillips Europe-Africa division in London, headed the negotiations for the US company.
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