Hess sells E. Guinea assets to focus on Guyana

U.S. oil and gas company Hess is selling its assets in Equatorial Guinea to raise cash for its offshore development project in Guyana.

The company on Monday said it would sell its interests in offshore Equatorial Guinea to Kosmos Energy and Trident Energy for a total consideration of $650 million, effective January 1, 2017.

“This sale is a further step in our strategy to focus our portfolio by investing in higher return assets and divesting more mature, higher cost assets,” CEO John Hess said. “Proceeds from asset sales, along with cash on our balance sheet, are expected to fund the development of our truly world class investment opportunity offshore Guyana. Our investment in Guyana will position our company to deliver a decade plus of returns-driven growth and increasing cash generation to our shareholders.”

During the first half of 2017, net production from the company’s assets in Equatorial Guinea averaged 28,000 barrels of oil per day. Hess holds an 85 percent paying interest and is operator. Tullow Oil holds a 15 percent paying interest and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea holds a 5 percent carried interest.

Under the terms of the agreements, Kosmos will be primarily responsible for exploration and subsurface evaluation while Trident, a newly formed international oil and gas company supported by Warburg Pincus, will be primarily responsible for production operations and optimization. The sale is expected to close before year end 2017.

According to the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea the sale transfers majority ownership and operatorship of two legacy oil producing areas in the Rio Muni basin, Ceiba and Okume, to Kosmos.

Hess’ exit from Equatorial Guinea comes after nearly two decades of operations at the Ceiba field and Okume complex, which began producing in 2000 and 2006, respectively. The company operates the two producing areas and has an 85 percent stake. Partners Tullow Oil (15 percent) and national oil company GEPetrol (5 percent carried interest) will work with new operator Kosmos Energy once the asset sale is finalized by the end of 2017.

“This transaction expands our significant position in a proven, but under-explored oil basin,” said Andrew G. Inglis, chairman and chief executive officer if Kosmos. “The Ceiba and Okume fields, which our team originally discovered and managed, provide low-cost, high-margin production with several identified opportunities for resource and value upside. These discoveries de-risked the key play elements in the basin, but limited exploration in subsequent years means we have the chance to fully unlock the exploration potential of the Rio Muni basin.

“Our differential knowledge of the basin and access to under-utilized infrastructure, creates a unique opportunity for the company. Furthermore, our partnership allows us to add value through our core expertise while leveraging the proven management team at Trident to deliver the upside from the Ceiba and Okume fields. In addition, the attractive purchase price means the acquisition is immediately accretive from both a value and leverage perspective, and enhances our already strong financial position,” he said.

“We thank Hess for its years of service, for its input of technology, knowledge and financing, and above all for its careful stewardship of these important national resources,” said Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima. “Now, Kosmos Energy brings a new sense of action and commitment to the Ceiba and Okume fields. We are delighted to welcome our new partners as investors and producers, as well as explorers in blocks S, W and EG-21 in the same region. This deal is nothing less than historic, and shifts focus towards the hugely promising Rio Muni basin.”

In addition to Kosmos’ asset acquisition of Ceiba and Okume, Kosmos also signed three production sharing contracts today with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons and GEPetrol. The purchase of Hess’ assets and new licenses make Kosmos the biggest petroleum explorer by acreage and the sole producer in Equatorial Guinea’s Rio Muni southern maritime area.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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