By Fred Akanni, Editor in Chef
French oil major TOTAL announced last week it had agreed to sell its stakes in seven oil fields in Gabon, around the time that news filtered in that ENI had proposed divesting stakes in its operated acreages in Congo Brazzaville.
TOTAL will soon announce sale of its stakes in Congo Brazzaville. It’s only a matter of time.
Considering that Shell sold its entire onshore assets in Gabon in 2017, these two announcements tell the story that the majors are winding down in these countries, where new hub size, short term-to-market discoveries have not been made for some time.
ENI’s decision to sell in Congo is surprising, giving the Italian explorer’s penchant for developing hydrocarbon tanks that other majors dismiss as marginal. Indeed, it was only late in 2019 that ENI completed phase 2A of the Néné Marine project by putting a total of 15 wells into production and approved the implementation of phase 2B.
TOTAL, effectively, is completing a second sell off in Gabon to Perenco, the unlisted French independent, in the space of three years.
The Paris based explorer divested its stake in five fields, representing 13,000Barrels of Oil PerDay, positions in exploratory tracts, as well as the Rabi-Coucal-Cap Lopez pipeline network, all to Perenco, for $350Million in 2017. Now it is selling again to the same company, including the operatorship in the Cap Lopez oil terminal. TOTAL is going to receive $290Million and $350Million for these assets, depending on future prices of the Brent crude.
TOTAL claims to “remain fully committed to Gabon through our operated production clusters at Anguille-Mandji and Torpille-Baudroie-Mérou, where we continue to maximize value for all stakeholders,” but that statement is for optics.
The aggressive French player has the biggest, forward looking projects in Africa today.
It is constructing a $20Billion LNG facility in Mozambique, working on financial close for a $12Billion basinwide oil development in Uganda and appraising a large oil, gas and condensate find, a new heartland if you wish, in South Africa.
TOTAL’s portfolios in Angola and Nigeria, each delivers no less than 350,000Barres of Oil Equivalent a Day.