People & Money

Energy Newcomers Favored to Acquire Stake in Agbami

Norwegian oil company, Equinor ASA, holders of a 20.2% stake in the Agbami oil field have potentially identified a buyer for their assets in Nigeria, sources have confirmed. Chappal Energies Mauritius Ltd, the favoured buyer is a Mauritius-incorporated company founded in May 2022. No official sales agreement has been signed yet, and Chappal Energies is still in the process of securing the funds required for the deal, as per insiders.

Mauritian records reveal that Bill Higgs, the former CEO of a Kurdistan-focused oil company Genel Energy Plc, and Hezekiah Oyinlola, chairman of GTCO and former Chair of Schlumberger Africa, joined the company’s board in February 2023. Hezekiah Oyinlola is also identified as a Director on the company’s scanty website.

Also Read: Nigeria’s Agbami: A $874 Million Per Quarter Temptation

According to Bloomberg, Ufoma Joseph Immanuel, the Managing Director of Chappal Energies is identified to have also held the same position at Lagos-based “Chappal Petroleum Development Limited” which was created in 2020. Austin Avuru, the founding CEO of Seplat Energy Plc was identified as the Chairman of Chappal Petroleum Development Limited.

Equinor ASA began the process of exiting Nigeria by selling off its assets in January this year. According to news reports, the company hoped to raise $1 billion from the sale and hired Standard Chartered to process the transaction. Equinor’s major asset in Nigeria is its stake in the Agbami oil field which has accounted for 7% of Nigeria’s oil output in 2023. Agbami is operated by Chevron and it reportedly produces 100,000 barrels of oil daily. Equinor also owns a 53.85% share in two exploration licenses OMLs 128 and 129. At the moment, six oil wells have been drilled in both and discoveries have been made, however, the discoveries are undeveloped.

According to insiders, five firms, including Prime Oil & Gas Cooperatief UA, which currently holds a 12.5% stake in the Agbami field, submitted offers to Equinor. Prime O&G is a collaboration between Africa Oil Corp., registered in Vancouver, and Brazil’s Grupo BTG Pactual.

Also Read: Tinubu’s Government May Sell Down NNPCL Assets, However, Can it Work?

Equinor is joining a growing list of IOCs who have identified interest in leaving Nigeria. Almost 18 months after a $1.3 billion agreement was reached between ExxonMobil and Seplat Energy Plc for the sale of shallow-water assets, the Nigerian government has placed a blockade on the deal.

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