Saudi Arabia - joining the dots

A series of blog entries exploring Saudi Arabia's role in the oil markets with a brief look at the history of the royal family and politics that dictate and influence the Kingdom's oil policy

AIM - Assets In Market

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Iran negotiations - is the end nigh?

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Yemen: The Islamic Chessboard?

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Acquisition Criteria

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Valuation Series

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Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Premier announces landmark acquisitions with BP and Dana for USD816 million

Premier announced the below this morning.

Premier is pleased to announce the proposed acquisitions of the Andrew Area and Shearwater assets from BP for US$625 million, and an additional 25 per cent. interest in the Premier operated Tolmount Area from Dana for US$191 million plus contingent payments of up to US$55 million (together the “Acquisitions”). Premier is also pleased to announce the proposed extension of its existing credit facilities to 30 November 2023.

In addition, Premier today provides a separate trading update ahead of its 2019 Full Year Results including the proposed farm-out of part of its Sea Lion and Tuna assets.

Rationale and benefits of the Acquisitions

  • Add c.23 kboepd of cash generative production in 2019 with development upside; acquired assets forecast to generate over US$1 billion of free cash flow to end 2023
  • Add 82 mmboe of reserves and contingent resources at an implied cost of less than US$10/boe
  • Contribute to rising Group production out to 2024 with pro forma 2019 production in excess of 100 kboepd
  • Add low cost, low carbon emission assets with combined opex of less than US$20/boe
  • Accelerate the use of Premier’s US$4.2bn tax losses
  • Materially strengthen Premier’s financial position
    • Additional free cash flow accelerates debt reduction
    • Significantly reduce forward covenant leverage ratio towards 1x by 2022
  • Extension of existing, non-amortising facilities to late 2023

Asset highlights

  • Andrew Area (50%-100% interests in 5 fields, operatorship): currently producing c.18 kboepd (net to BP) with material near term upside through further development of the Andrew Lower Cretaceous reservoir
  • Shearwater (27.5% interest): significant producing and infrastructure hub, adding 25 mmboe of reserves and resources with incremental investment opportunities and tariff income
  • Tolmount (25% interest): consolidates interest in existing high return development, which is on schedule to deliver first gas by end-2020, with significant upside following recent drilling success at Tolmount East
The proposed Acquisitions will be funded via a US$500m equity raise (net of expenses) which has been fully underwritten on a standby basis, existing cash resources and, if required, an Acquisition Bridge Facility of US$300 million. Premier expects that the equity raise will include both a placing and rights issue component with any shares issued under the placing qualifying for the subsequent pre-emptive rights issue. It expects to confirm the structure and terms in Q1 2020 following consultation with major shareholders.

RBC Capital Markets and Jefferies are acting as Joint Corporate Brokers and Joint Underwriters.
RBC Capital Markets is also acting as Financial Adviser and Sponsor.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Cheniere: Innovative deal structuring on Corpus Christi


This year saw one of the first innovative upstream gas supply deals for a US Gulf Coast liquefaction plant.

In June, Cheniere had signed a long term gas supply agreement with Apache for its Corpus Christi Stage III trains. The Corpus Christi Stage III project is being developed to include up to seven midscale liquefaction trains with a total expected nominal production capacity of approximately 9.5mtpa.

The supply agreement will be for gas volumes of 15mmbtu/day, delivered to Corpus Christi, and more importantly Apache will receive a gas price that will be the LNG price less a fixed liquefaction fee and certain costs incurred by Cheniere.

The LNG associated with this gas supply is c.0.85mtpa and will be marketed by Cheniere.

“This first-of-its-kind long-term agreement with Apache represents a commercial evolution in the U.S. LNG industry, as it will ensure the continued reliable delivery of natural gas to Cheniere from one of the premier producers in the Permian Basin, while enabling Apache to access global LNG pricing and receive flow assurance for its gas,” said Jack Fusco, Cheniere’s President and CEO.

“This commercial agreement, which is expected to support the Corpus Christi Stage III project, reinforces Cheniere’s track record of creating innovative, collaborative solutions to meet customers’ needs and support Cheniere’s growth.

Apache’s agreement with Cheniere is part of the company’s long-term strategy to leverage the scale of our assets in the Permian Basin and diversify our customer base and cost structure by accessing new markets for natural gas produced at Alpine High. We are pleased to partner with Cheniere in this innovative marketing agreement,” said John J. Christmann IV, Apache’s Chief Executive Officer and President.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

PGNiG confirms termination of Russian gas imports from end 2022

Poland's PGNiG has notified Gazprom of its intention to terminate imports of Russian pipeline gas from the end of 2022.


This will now increase the country's reliant on US LNG (which at this time many US Gulf Coast LNG projects still have to be sanctioned and not guaranteed to come online) and the long awaited Baltic pipeline to take Norwegian gas to Poland.


The move is not a big surprise and is completely consistent with all the messages the Poland has been giving over the past few years including aggressively signing up US LNG volumes.


Poland consumes around 17 bcm of gas annually, more than half of which comes from Gazprom under a long-term contract that expires at the end of 2022. It has used the upcoming expiry as an opportunity to diversify its gas supply ahead of time and has consistently stressed that Gazprom is charging Poland too much for the gas noting that Russia has taken advantage of the historic lack of other sources of gas which is now rapidly changing with the advent of LNG.


Related links:

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Blackrock and GIC acquires critical North Sea gas infrastructure


Blackrock and GIC have announced the acquisition of Kellas Midstream from Antin. Antin was expected to launch an auction process for Kellas Midstream at the end of the year and it appears that Blackrock and GIC moved quickly and were able to agree a deal ahead of the formal auction. No sale price was disclosed but believed to be in the range of £1.4-2.0 billion.

There will be a number of disappointed parties out there who were lining themselves up for the process including the runners-up on the NSMP sale of last year - widely reported as KKR, Macquarie, Partners Group and numerous pension funds.

Kellas owns the CATS pipeline and terminal, a majority stake in the ETS pipeline and is building the new HGS pipeline that serves Premier Oil's Tolmount Area. All of this is critical infrastructure for UK North Sea gas production, without which, the country would be crippled from a shortage of gas. Some of the key hubs that the infrastructure serves include the Cygnus Area (the largest and newest gas field in the Southern North Sea), the Culzean Area (another critical new gas field in the Central North Sea) and the up and coming Tolmount Area.

Kellas systems
Source: Kellas Midstream


CATS system
Source: Kellas Midstream


In addition, the CATS pipeline appears to be a key contender for export from the massive Glengorm field that was discovered at the beginning of this year and will become an important source of gas for the UK in the decades to come (see UK North Sea gets shot in the arm with Glengorm).



The advisers to Blackrock and GIC were listed as:
- RBC Capital Markets and Scotiabank as financial advisers
- Herbert Smith Freehills as legal advisers
- Xodus as technical advisers

The full press release below:
Antin sells Kellas Midstream to BlackRock and GIC

Antin Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm focused on infrastructure investments, announced today that it had signed an agreement to sell Kellas Midstream to BlackRock’s Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Funds (GEPIF III) and GIC, a leading global institutional investor, in a joint venture.

Kellas Midstream owns and operates key gas infrastructure in the UK Central and Southern North Sea. Kellas Midstream comprises: (1) the Central Area Transmission System (‘CATS’): a major gas transportation and processing system which takes gas from the Central North Sea to the CATS reception and processing terminal at Teesside in the North East of England; (2) the Esmond Transportation System (“ETS”): a key subsea pipeline in the Southern North Sea connecting four producing fields to the Bacton gas terminal on the North Sea coast; and (3) the Humber Gathering System (“HGS”): a first-of-its-kind greenfield project to build the infrastructure required for the development of the large Tolmount gas field in the Southern North Sea.

Antin initially acquired a 63% stake in CATS from BG (now Shell) in 2014, later acquiring a 36% stake from BP in 2015. Having fully carved out the business and established a standalone entity, Kellas Midstream grew substantially both via organic growth with connection to new major gas fields such as Stella, Caley & Shaw, Culzean and Vorlich, and by expansion in the UK Southern North Sea with the ETS acquisition and the HGS development. Throughout Antin’s period of ownership, it focused on achieving outstanding operational performance whilst maintaining a clear focus on Health & Safety. Kellas Midstream maintained a perfect safety record with zero Lost Time Incidents for 16 consecutive years. The transaction is expected to close in early 2020.

“We are proud of the significant growth and strategic transformation accomplished during Antin’s ownership over the past five years. We are also grateful for the strong partnership and outstanding performance of Kellas Midstream’s talented management team and dedicated employees. We wish them continued success with their new owners” said Mark Crosbie, Antin’s Managing Partner.

Andy Hessell, Kellas Midstream’s Managing Director, said: “We thank Antin for their significant support over the past five years. GIC and the BlackRock GEPIF team recognise the growth potential of the business we have built and share our strategy to continue to invest, grow and build our portfolio of midstream assets and serve all our customers in the North Sea. We look forward to working with our new partners.”

Mark Florian, Group Head of the Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Funds Team at BlackRock, added: “A growing number of institutional investors are seeking exposure to energy and power investments. Within the sector, energy from gas is viewed as a necessary component of the energy transition as we move towards a lower carbon economy. This investment in Kellas Midstream reflects the focus of GEPIF III on making strong equity investments in mid-market energy and power infrastructure and partnering with outstanding management teams.”

Ang Eng Seng, Chief Investment Officer of Infrastructure at GIC, said: “We are pleased to invest in Kellas, a leading provider of high-quality midstream infrastructure with a strong track record. As a long-term investor, we look forward to partnering with BlackRock and Kellas’ management to support the future growth of the company.”

Bank of America Securities and Citi acted as financial advisers to Antin, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges acted as its legal adviser. RBC Capital Markets and Scotiabank acted as financial advisers to BlackRock Real Assets and GIC, and Herbert Smith Freehills and Xodus acted as their legal and technical advisers respectively.


Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Is Busta a bust?




Exploration well on the Busta prospect on PL782S has been drilled in 127m of water in the Jotun-Balder area of the Norwegian North Sea. It appears to be a marginal discovery with preliminary resource estimates of 6-60mmboe (vs. pre-drill 50-200mmboe).

Two separate gas/condensate and oil-bearing intervals totaling ~25m were encountered -the primary target hitting the reservoir with the secondary target water bearing.

Busta is operated by ConocoPhillips (40%) with AkerBP, Dea and Equinor each with 20%.

The Leiv Eiriksson rig which drilled the well is now scheduled to relocate to the neighbouring block, PL917, to drill the Enniberg/ Hasselbaink prospect.

Friday, 1 November 2019

SNE partners buy FPSO


Cairn and FAR have announced a material increase in the capex for the SNE development from USD2.2 billion to USD3.7 billion (plus USD500 million contingency) for Phase 1. This has been driven by the partners' decision to buy an FPSO rather than lease it. This does however bring the opex down, estimated form c.USD14/boe to c.USD11/boe.

FID is expected to be taken at the end of 2019 with first oil forecast for late 2022. The development will be phased with Phase 1 targeting 230mmbbl and production of 100mbopd. Phase 2 will target a further 253mmbbl oil.

This is a particularly tough week for Cairn having earlier announced a dry hole in Mexico at Alom-1 and the Indian arbitration award delayed into summer 2020, while now also being exposed to larger capex on SNE.


Sunday, 13 October 2019

European gas storage is full



European gas storage is full and Equinor has highlighted three potential catalysts that could provide short term relief for the current super low European gas prices
  1. A delay to Nord Stream 2 due to sanctions
  2. The lack of a transit agreement with Ukraine
  3. A colder than expected winter

The Nord Stream 2 project was expected to come onstream on 1 January 2020. However with ongoing concerns that the EU's reliance on Russian gas continues to grow and Trump considering sanctions on the project, it is likely to be delayed.


Russia's agreement to transit gas through Ukraine also expires in January 2020 and there is current uncertainty on whether a new agreement can be reached between the two countries.


So upside to European gas prices to exist as we head into the winter in north west Europe.