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TGS and PGS Combine to Establish a ‘Super’ Energy Data Company

TGS and PGS, two leading geophysical and data storage companies, headquartered in Norway, are combining to create “a stronger and more diversified geophysical company and data provider to the energy value chain, driven by technology and innovation”, a statement by TGS says.

The transaction is expected to be completed as a statutory merger pursuant to Norwegian corporate law, with merger consideration to PGS shareholders in the form of 0.06829 ordinary shares of TGS for each PGS share.

Following the completion of the transaction, TGS and PGS shareholders will own approximately 2/3 and 1/3 of the combined company, respectively, on the basis of the share capital of each of the companies as of 15 September 2023.

“The transaction establishes the combined company as a full-service geophysical data company with a strong offering in all segments, including Multi-Client data, streamer data acquisition, Ocean Bottom Node (‘OBN’) data acquisition, imaging and new energy data. Moreover, the transaction helps mitigate supply chain risks and will add further to economies of scale and efficiency, enhancing the value offered to clients”, TGS explains, adding: “preliminary estimate of more than $50Million annually in cost synergies

The transaction is supported by the Board of Directors of both companies. Kristian Johansen and Sven Børre Larsen will continue as CEO and CFO post transaction.

Definitive merger agreements are expected to be entered into in October 2023, with closing of the transaction expected during the first half of 2024, subject to satisfaction of conditions for completion.

In Multi-Client, the combined company will offer customers a global seismic library with data from all active basins in both the western and eastern hemispheres. In data acquisition, the combined company will be a substantial player globally with a strong operational track record. For streamer acquisition, it will hold an operational fleet of seven 3D data acquisition vessels, and for Ocean Bottom Node (OBN) acquisition, the combined company will benefit from around 30,000 mid and deepwater nodes. Within imaging, the combined company will offer a strong service to in-house and external customers integrating on-premises and cloud based high-performing computing services. In addition, the combined company sees significant growth opportunities in new energy with complementary technology offerings for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and offshore wind.

“The seismic industry is changing whereby production seismic is becoming increasingly important alongside the traditional exploration seismic. By combining TGS and PGS’ complementary resources, we create a fully integrated geophysical service provider well positioned to generate significant value for all stakeholders” stated Rune Olav Pedersen, President & Chief Executive Officer of PGS.

“This is a strategic transaction for TGS and a major step on the journey we started in 2019. It will combine the capabilities of both companies to create a geophysical powerhouse. The transaction continues TGS’ strategic development from a pure Multi-Client seismic company to the leading acquirer and provider of geophysical data to both the oil and gas and new energy industries” stated Chris Finlayson, Chair of the Board of TGS.


The combined company will have a combined fully diluted market cap of approx. $2,616Million and a net interest-bearing debt (NIBD) of U$649Million (2Q 2023), corresponding to a market cap:NIBD ratio of 80:20. The combined company will seek to optimize its capital structure, efficiency and cost based on the strength of the combined balance sheets and cash flows. As such, the combined company plans to refinance PGS’ $450Million senior notes and the term loans on first call opportunity. As an overriding principle, TGS will continue to maintain a conservative balance sheet profile.

Key terms of the merger:

Based on a TGS share price as of close 15 September 2023 of NOK 147.50, the exchange ratio of 0.06829 and 925,321,732 fully diluted PGS shares, the equity value of PGS is NOK 9,321Million, corresponding to a price per share of NOK 10.073. This represents a premium, of 20.7% to PGS closing price on 15 September 2023 and an exchange ratio premium of 22.4%, 40.8% and 41.6% based on 30 days, 3 month and six months VWAP as of 15 September 2023, respectively.

Future TGS dividend payments up to closing will be compensated to PGS shareholders. The full merger plan is expected to be published during October 2023.

The transaction remains subject to certain conditions, including a confirmatory due diligence by both parties, finalizing and executing a definitive merger plan, as well as customary closing conditions such as relevant regulatory approvals and consents and expiry of statutory waiting periods and no material adverse change occurring. The transaction is also subject to approval by extraordinary general meetings in both TGS and PGS with at least two-thirds majority. Closing of the transaction would occur as soon as possible thereafter.

NUPRC Cites “Technicalities” For Not Publishing List of Gas Flare Bid Winners

By Lukman Abolade, Senior Correspondent, Africa Oil+Gas Report

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has announced the finalisation of the 2023 Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme without publishing the list of the successful companies.

In a statement released in Abuja, the NUPRC disclosed that 42 companies/entities were deemed successful in the competition to win and develop 49 flare sites announced during the 2022 Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP) auction process. Among these, 38 companies were granted 40 standalone single flare site developments, while four companies received nine sites to be developed as clusters. Additionally, reserve bidder status was granted to some companies in case the preferred bidders failed to meet the stipulated terms and conditions.

But the absence of accompanying list of names of the winners has left several industry stakeholders puzzled, dredging up the usual questions about transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s hydrocarbon sector.

When contacted, Adamu Garba, the NUPRC Head, Public Affairs Unit, cited ‘technicalities’ as reason for the delay in publishing the list along with the commission’s statement of bid round outcome made on September 12, 2023.

“There are still some technicalities that we are trying to fix, when we are done, we’ll make it public, we will make it available then,” Garba said.

But the NUPRC statement itself had indicated that award letters were already being transmitted to the respective successful entities through the appropriate channels.

In furtherance of its mandate in Section 7 (e) and Section 105 (2) of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021, the statement said, the commission, in the third quarter of 2022, restructured the NGFCP and re-launched the programme to align with the provisions of the PIA, as well as reflect prevailing economic and operational realities.

“The engagements by the commission were to galvanise and sustain interest in the programme, attract investments and stimulate participation by local and foreign entities,” NUPRC stated.

The Commission noted that in response to the Request for Qualification issued in the fourth quarter of 2022, 300 companies/entities indicated interest in either revalidating their pre-qualification status as existing participants or submitting Statement of Qualification as new participants.

“Following the evaluation of SOQs, a total of 139 applicants were deemed successful and awarded the qualified applicant status. Subsequently, in the first quarter of 2023, the commission issued the Request for Proposal to enable qualified applicants to put together their respective proposals for any of the 49 flare sites on offer.

“88 entities, comprising individual companies and consortiums responded to the RFP and submitted a total of 137 proposals, each containing technical, commercial and financial documentation for one or more of the 49 flare sites for either standalone or cluster development,” the statement read.

NUPRC said the proposals were duly evaluated by the commission and approval secured to announce 38 companies granted 40 standalone single flare site developments, while four companies which also received nine sites to be developed as clusters.

The NUPRC further noted that the preferred bidders would proceed individually to execute a suite of commercial agreements with relevant parties and effect payment of the prescribed award fees to enable the granting of permits to access flare gas by the commission.

However, the absence of a published list of selected companies has left the Nigerian public in the dark regarding the companies that will be sealing these crucial agreements with the NUPRC.

This marks the second consecutive Nigerian hydrocarbon bid round whose outcome would be announced without a list of the winners.

The defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) also failed to announce the 161 companies selected as winners of interests in the 57 marginal fields on offer in the Nigeria’s second marginal field bid round in 2021 which led to speculations and allegations.

Unlike Nigeria, countries such as Angola, Ghana, and even neighbouring Cameroon routinely publish detailed lists of bid round winners during announcement, providing a clear picture of who will be responsible for developing their hydrocarbon resources. The absence of this crucial information in Nigeria’s announcements has fuelled scepticism and speculation.

In the absence of a published list of winners, stakeholders in the oil and gas sector are now questioning the fairness and integrity of the process. Industry experts argue that without a published list, it becomes challenging to scrutinize the qualifications and capabilities of the winning companies, potentially undermining the program’s success.

In stark contrast to Nigeria’s approach, countries such as Angola, Ghana, and even neighbouring Cameroon consistently publish detailed lists of bid round winners during announcements, providing a clear and transparent picture of who will be responsible for developing their hydrocarbon resources. The absence of this crucial information in Nigeria’s announcements has fuelled scepticism and speculation within the industry.

SDX Energy Will Leave Egypt, to Concentrate on Morocco

The British minnow, SDX Energy, is close to selling its Egyptian assets, as part of a transition roadmap to “monetize exciting opportunities around its Moroccan assets and related energy transition sector-plays”, the company has said.

SDX ‘s Egyptian portfolio contains interests in six concessions in Egypt and Morocco. In Egypt, the Company has a working interest in two producing assets, such as a 55% operated interest in the South Disouq concession in the Nile Delta and a 50% non-operated interest in the West Gharib concession located onshore in the Eastern Desert adjacent to the Gulf of Suez.

In Morocco, the company  has a 75% operated working interest in four exploration permits, all situated in the Gharb Basin, which includes the Sebou Central, Gharb Occidental, Moulay Bouchta Ouest, and Lalla Mimouna Sud exploration permits, plus a number of exploitation concessions containing the producing wells.

SDX says it has entered into a non-binding Heads of Terms with a large multinational operator to divest of all of its Egyptian assets in a move to optimize its asset portfolio and focus on the Moroccan energy transition sector. The company expects to close the transaction by the end of 2023.

SDX states that the “Disposal will position the company for upcoming diversification into Morocco’s energy transition sector. Moving towards the energy transition narrative also gives access to a wider pool of capital, setting SDX on a new path of growth with the ultimate aim of delivering sustainable returns for shareholders.”

The Disposal will require the consent of SDX shareholders being given in a general meeting. Completion of the Disposal will be subject to, among other conditions, the negotiation of final transaction documentation and obtaining Egyptian government approvals for the sale. The Heads of Terms are non-binding and, therefore there can be no certainty that the Disposal will complete, SDX states.

Once the sale goes through, “SDX, re-energized with new management, will focus on monetizing exciting opportunities around its Moroccan assets and related energy transition sector-plays”, says Daniel Gould, Managing Director. This is “in oder to reward and deliver capital growth to our shareholders in the near term.”

Angola Signs Two PSAs with Three European Oil Companies

Angola’s upstream hydrocarbon regulator, the National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANPG), has signed Production Sharing Contracts (PSA) with the French major TOTALEnergies, the ENI/BP SPV Azule Energy and the Norwegian independent Equinor, for Blocks 16/21 and 31/21, located in deep and ultra-deep waters, respectively, in the Lower Congo Basin.

Block 16/21 is close to TOTAL operated Block 17 , the largest producing block in the country, while Block 31/21 has a total of 12 discoveries, “in addition to remaining exploration potential in an area with the Block’s existing infrastructure. 31 PSVM”, the ANPG says in a statement.

“The challenges related to global competition, the current volatility of the price of a barrel of oil, which is directly linked to factors that transcend us, did not prevent the conclusion of this process, demonstrating once again that the large oil companies continue to consider Angola as a preferred location and choice to make your investments”, declared Paulino Jerónimo, President of the Board of Directors of ANPGy, this is yet another achievement that demonstrates the positive results of the Strategy designed by the Angolan Executive for the oil sector.

The contracts result from the 2021 Bidding process that led to the creation of contracting groups formed by TOTALEnergies, to operate Block 16/21, with a 100 percent stake, and by Azule Energy (operator) and Equinor, both for the Block 31/21, with 50 percent participation interest, each.

Mozambique is Close to Concluding Negotiations with Bid Round Winners

Mozambican authorities are finalising negotiations with the two consortia that won the 6th international tender (bid round) for hydrocarbon exploration and production.

“Negotiations are almost over and by the end of this year at the latest the contracts will be presented to the government so that it can approve them and start operations,” said Carlos Zacarias, the country’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.

The two consortia who won were led by ENI, the Italian explorer and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the Chinese behemoth.

Zacarias explained that the Mozambican cabinet is studying the possibility of launching more bid rounds in the short term, as the government considers the country as having significant volume of yet unexplored hydrocarbons.

The minister was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 8th Coordinating Council of the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy.

“Taking advantage of the energy resources that Mozambique has, becomes more pertinent given the period of energy transition that the world is going through,” he emphasised.

Mozambique has three development projects approved to exploit the natural gas reserves in the Rovuma basin, considered one of the largest in the world and are located off the coast of Cabo Delgado province.

Tullow Extends its Position in Gabon by 23 More Years

Tullow has announced the approval from the Government of Gabon for the extension of several of its Gabon licences to 2046.

“The licence extensions increase the value of Tullow’s resource base through the addition of about five million barrels (c.5MMbbls) net 2P reserves that will deliver c.100% 2P reserves replacement in Gabon this year”, Tullow explains in a release.

Tullow’s net production in Gabon in 2022 was 14,900Barrels of Oil Equivalent Per Day (14.9KBOEPD).

The company said of the licence extension: “This activity is in line with the Group’s strategy to focus on its high return production assets in Africa and unlock value through optimisation of its non-operated portfolio.

“The extensions reflect the future potential of the reserves and resources across the Gabonese assets and the longevity of the Tchatamba facilities as a core hub for Tullow”.


Nigerian Deepwater Bid Round Wraps Up today July 28, 2023

By Macson Obojemuinmoin

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) may be keeping to the reviewed terminal date for the seven deepwater acreages on offer since January 2023.

The commission, on April 1 2023, revised the Deep Offshore Oil Block Bid Round Schedule by extending the deadline for the submission of Technical/Commercial bids to May 19, 2023, with timeline for concluding activities of contract negotiations and signing between July 3 and 28, 2023.

“The outstanding activities for the conclusion of the exercise include the Technical/Commercial Bid Submission and the Ministerial Consent/Contract Negotiation and Signing”, Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive of the NUPRC said.

Mr. Komolafe said that constant interrogation and oversight of the process revealed two concerns the plan to conclude the bid process before transition to the new government and the need to guarantee participation of qualified indigenous companies, working collaboratively with multinationals and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to leverage technology, funding and expertise”

Shell plc, TOTALEnergies, ENI of Italy and Chevron were part of the early contestants for the acreages, located in ultradeepwater Benin (Dahomey) Basin. They were prequalified. But the majors have struggled to remain in the contest, whereas Nigerian owned companies have been more eager.

The seven open blocks: 300-DO, 301-DO, 302-DO, 303-DO, 304-DO, 305-DO & 306-DO) are mostly located in ultradeep waster, with water depth ranging from 1,1000 to 3,000Metres.

Several downstream (petroleum product marketing) Nigerian owned companies, including Masters Energy, Matrix Energy, A. Y. M. Shafa, MRS Oil & Gas, as well as Sifax & Royalgate as a consortium, were prequalified.

Originally conspicuous in their absence from the bid were Nigeria’s producing indigenous independent E&P companies; those who are currently producing crude oil and gas in the country’s onshore and shallow water assets. The exception to the rule is the Sahara Group.


ENI Purchases Gas Assets in Algeria & Egypt, Dispenses with ‘Pure Oil Play’ in the Congo

ENI made the announcement, within the same week, about a $300Million sale of oil fields to Perenco in the Congo and a $4.9Billion acquisition of a piece of Neptune Energy, which holds large gas assets in Algeria and Egypt.

The latter is considered more critical to the medium-term future of the Italian firm, with a razor edge focus on weaning Europe from dependence on Russian gas.

The company did not name the Congolese fields, which it had been hawking for some time before getting a buyer in the form of Perenco, the largest independent producer of hydrocarbon in Africa.

ENI’s operated assets in Congo include Néné-Banga Marine and Litchendjili (Block Marine XII, 65%), Zatchi (55.25%), Loango (42.5%), Ikalou (85%), Djambala (50%), Foukanda (58%), Mwafi (58%), Kitina (52%), Awa Paloukou (90%), M’Boundi (83%) and Kouakouala (75%). The Italian explorer’s non -operated interests include Yanga Sendji (29.75%) and Likouala (35%)

The purchase of London-based independent Neptune Energy brings with it 35% stake and operatorship of the 400Million standard cubic feet per day (400MMscf/d) Touat project. It also delivers Interests in hydrocarbon fields in the Egyptian desert and an operated exploration licence in the Gulf of Suez.

Although the Neptune transaction comes with properties in the Netherlands, the UK’s and Norway’s North Sea (which is the biggest asset in the purchase), as well as Indonesia and Australia,  Claudio Descalzi, ENI’s CEO, has been keen to stress the Algeria assets were central to the rationale of a deal

Neptune produces gas from the Touat plant as part of a joint venture with Sonatrach and ENGIE, which is an important source of supply for mainland Europe. Groupement Touat Gaz consisting of Neptune Energy Touat (65%) and Sonatrach (35%). Within Neptune Energy Touat, ENGIE holds 46% and Neptune 54%. Operators Groupement Touat Gaz Touat field was shut-in throughout 2022 to enable upgrades at the processing facilities.


Angola Will Sign Assignment With Onshore Bid Winners in March 2024

The Angolan National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) has presented the outlines and scope of its Petroleum Concessions-2023, for the exploration and production of petroleum, of 12 blocks, in the onshore parts of the Congo and Kwanza Basins.

The agency will announce the public tender for the award of the 12 oil blocks on September 30 of 2023, with the signing of the Basins assignment, scheduled for March 19, 2024.

ANPG is working to meet the target, set by r the government in 2019, to offer around 55 blocks by 2025. The Petroleum Concessions-2023 represents a segment of this objective.

“The two basins have great production potential and a proven history of oil activity”, Paulino Jerónimo, chairman of the ANPG’s Board of Directors at the presentation, which was attended by a hall full of petroleum industry professionals. “The ANPG is committed to maintaining an open dialogue with its partners so that together we can find the best solutions with a view to the continuous improvement of the sector and make Angola a a privileged location for investors in the oil sector in Africa and the world”, he noted. It should be remembered that the National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) has already carried out three tenders, in 2019, 2020 and 2021”.

ANPG managers gave various presentations at the roadshow in Luanda, to highlight the value of the assets on offer. One presentation was titled: “Technical assessments of blocks and existing data packages“, Another was “Accessibility studies and environmental legislation”, There was “Legal, fiscal and contractual framework” as well as “Commercial terms requirements”.

There were presentations focused on “Logistical conditions and opportunities for regional development and promotion of Local Content” and “Requirements for attributing the quality of associate of the National Concessionaire“.

ANPG announced that Blocks CON 1, CON 3, CON 7 and CON 8 in the Onshore Congo Basin, have produced, as high as 50,000 barrels of oil/day in the 1970s and early 1980s. It is hoping that, with new  money invested by would-be  acreage holders, the assets could still do as much as 80,000 BOPD.

The tender for the Congo and Kwanza Onshore Basins is based on Presidential Decree No. 52/19, which establishes rules aimed at increasing oil and gas production in Angola, as well as ensuring the decline of crude oil in the country.

The ANPG says that its database contains an enormous amount of geophysical, geological, geospatial information that can serve as support for the evaluation of the basins. Naire Quenge of the ANPG Archive Office, notes that the Kwanza Basin has an area of ​​approximately 25 thousand square kilometers, consisting of 23 blocks, whose exploration history comprises two phases, the first dating from 1910 to 1925, when a total of 26 wells were drilled.

From 1925 to the present date, several two dimensional (2D) seismic campaigns, aeromagnetometric surveys, a total of 300 wells drilled, between exploration and production, culminating in the discovery of 11 oil fields and two gases.

“Studies of geological cacography and geochemical evaluation made it possible to recognize two mega frequencies in the Kwanza basin, which are: the pre-salt and post-salt unit. In the pre-salt there are, structurally, normal faults eradicated in the leak that originated structures of the horsts and grabens type (structural ups and downs)”, Quenge explains, stressing: “In the structural lows are deposited fine material rich in organic matter that constitutes the main rock of the referred unit, which is the red cube formation, responsible for feeding the sandstones deposited on the flanks of the horsts in the form of a pinchout, also responsible by feeding Coquina-type carbonates from the top of the horsts, equivalent to the Lower Congo Toca formation.

“At the top of the sequence, a Sag-type basin was formed, in which there are sands as reservoirs equivalent to the Chela formation of the lower Congo and at the top of the sequence the microbiological limestones that are reservoirs and as source rock, we have the formation of the cube grey. This unit culminates with the deposition of massive salt formation”.





Afentra Pushes the Final Acquisition of Angola’s Block 3/05 by One More Month

Afentra has named a new date at which it expects the completion of its acquisition of Sonangol’s stake in Block 3/05.

It is the third time it would shift the completion date a little further.

The company is upbeat about the value of the asset: “Recent gross production levels in Block 3/05 has averaged approximately 18,900Barrels of Oil Per Day(BOPD) in May 2023. Water injection levels have averaged approx. 39,000 Barrels of Water Per Day from January through May 2023. Finally, production in Block 3/05A, at the Gazela field, has continued at approximately 1,100BOPD” Afentra announces.

In late 2021, Sonangol, selected 10 companies for purposes of farm down negotiations from six blocks in which it has interests.

In April 2022, Afentra signed Sales and Purchase Agreements (SPAs) with Sonangol to acquire non-operated interests from Sonangol and INA in the producing Block 3/05 (24%), adjacent development Block 3/05A (4%) and exploration Block 23 (40%).

It then entered into financing and offtake agreements with Trafigura to finance the acquisitions through Reserve Based Lending (‘RBL’) facility: up to $75Million with 5-year tenure (8% margin over 3- month secured overnight financing rate (SOFR)).

The acquisition of INA’s stake has been concluded.

But taking over Sonangol’s 20% interest in Block 3/05, which is the crown jewel of the deal, and 40% interest in Block 23, has taken a little time.

“Subsequent to the approval of the licence extension in May 2023, Sonangol (the Angolan state hydrocarbon company) is now pursuing the requisite government approvals for the transaction”, the London headquartered junior says in a recent update.

“Based on the outstanding workstreams and associated timeframes, completion of the transaction is now expected to occur in July 2023 and we are working, together with Sonangol, to extend the long stop date for this acquisition accordingly”, Afentra says in the release.

In addition, the enhanced fiscal terms associated with the Block 3/05 PSA extension have been submitted for the requisite government approvals.

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