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Total to sell mature Gabon oil fields to Perenco

28 Feb 2017, 11.39 am GMT

Total to sell mature Gabon oil fields to Perenco

London, 27 February (Argus) — Total has agreed to sell stakes in 12 mature oil fields and a pipeline network in Gabon to Anglo-French independent Perenco Energy for $350mn.

The firm will exit four of the fields altogether. It will retain a reduced stake in the other eight, although it will transfer operatorship in those to Perenco.

Total is divesting almost all of its onshore assets and its 100pc interest in the the Rabi-Coucal-Cap Lopez pipeline as part of the deal. The company will lose around 13,000 b/d of production from the sale.

"In a context of volatile Brent prices where reducing the breakeven of our operations is a top priority, this agreement demonstrates our ability to capture value through the disposal of mature assets while benefiting from the synergies generated by the transfer of operatorship," president of Total's upstream division Arnaud Breuillac said.

Total will hold stakes in 14 fields in Gabon, six of them as operator, after the transaction completes. These include fields in the Anguille and offshore Torpille licences. The company will still hold its operating stake in the Cap Lopez oil terminal.

Total's equity production in Gabon — which excludes the impact of oil prices on production-sharing contracts — was 58,100 b/d last year.

Total is not the only major looking to sell mature assets in Gabon. Shell is in advanced discussions about the sale of onshore operations in the country. Perenco was interested in the Shell assets but investment firm Carlyle has emerged as the frontrunner.

Gabon has been struggling to attract investment to reverse a decline in its production. And it has been hampered by recent oil worker strikes. The country, which rejoined Opec last year, produced around 200,000 b/d in January, Argus estimates. Its output peaked at 365,000 b/d in 1997.

Perenco, Total and Shell are the three largest producers in Gabon. But Perenco has the lowest unit production costs and has made developing mature fields in a lower price environment its specialty.

US independent Harvest Natural Resources said last year it will leave Gabon once the sale of its interest in the offshore Dussafu block to BW Energy Gabon is completed. The firm's shareholders approved the sale of the company and its dissolution on 24 February.

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