Lukoil enters Eni’s license offshore Congo for $800 million

Russian oil and gas company Lukoil has concluded an agreement with New Age to acquire a 25% interest in the Eni-operated Marine XII license in the Republic of Congo for $800 million in cash.

Litchendjili platform; Source: New Age

The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including the approval by the government of the Republic of Congo, Lukoil said on Thursday.

In a separate statement on Thursday, New Age said that the sale of its position in Marine XII marks the culmination of a successful investment cycle for the company. New Age will utilize the proceeds from this transaction to further strengthen its balance sheet and to redeploy into earlier stage opportunities within its African portfolio, including the Marine III license which is also in the Republic of Congo.

The Marine XII license covering 571 sq. km is located on the continental shelf of the Republic of Congo 20 km from the shore with the sea depth of 20-90 meters. The license covers five discovered fields containing 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent of proved and probable (2P) reserves according to international independent auditor.

Two fields, Nene and Litchendjili, launched in 2015, currently produce 28 thousand barrels of oil (mainly light and low-sulfur) and gas condensate per day, and 1.7 million cubic meters per day of marketable gas.

Eni started production from Nené Marine field in January 2015, just eight months after obtaining the production permit and 16 months following the exploration discovery. In December 2016, Eni launched the second development phase of the Nené Marine field.

The Marine XII license is based on a production sharing contract. Eni is the project’s operator with a 65% stake. The project also involves the state company Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo with a 10% stake.

Vagit Alekperov, President of Lukoil, said: “Entering this project is in line with our M&A strategy. The project is characterized by explored reserves, substantial production growth potential, access to well-developed infrastructure and it also fits our technological expertise. On top of that, the project is already free cash flow positive.

“We are also pleased to expand our partnership with Eni that is well-experienced in international offshore projects and known for its successful footprint in the region.”

David Stoopin, CEO, NewAge said: “I am pleased to announce the sale of our interest in Marine XII. This sale highlights the success of our strategy of identification and early entry into under-valued proven acreage with upside potential.”

Commenting on the deal, Jean-Baptiste Bouzard, senior research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said: “The deal consideration is $800 million cash. This represents a 36% discount to our $1.26 billion valuation (NPV 10, January 2019). This can be explained by NewAge’s well-known desire to sell and the development costs associated with complex reservoirs.

“The transaction adds production for the first time to Lukoil’s West African portfolio, and fits with the Russian company’s aims of developing its offshore expertise and grow its presence outside its Russian stronghold.

“For NewAge, the sale will free up resources to focus on Etinde in Cameroon, and replenish its exploration portfolio.”

It is worth reminding that Lukoil in May discussed prospects for bilateral cooperation with the president of the Republic of the Congo.

Marine XII license map. Source: New Age

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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