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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Friday, 8 December 2017


China Energy Reserve and Chemical Group (“CERCG”) has returned with a second bid for AWE at A$0.73/share, valuing the company at A$463 million. This follows the withdrawal of the earlier offer at A$0.71/share on 4th December.

On 30th November, CERCG put out a takeover offer for AWE at A$0.71/share contingent on due diligence, approval by the regulatory authorities and the CERBG board. The offer was at a 30% premium to the share price was deemed insufficient by AWE to grant access for due diligence. The bid was subsequently withdrawn on 4th December.

CERCG remains fiercely private with limited information in the public domain. It is reported to have deep pockets with material property investments in Hong Kong to the tune of billions. It is also understood that some of the directors are also on the board of China New Energy Mining Limited, which is the JV partner to Sino Gas on upstream gas developments in China.

On 8th December, CERCG re-launched an offer at A$0.73/share – marginally better but places limited value on the vast contingent resource base of the company with potential upgrade at Waitsia. The approach from CERCG is the third bid in four years. The Lone Star bid at A$0.80/share (A$421 million) in 2016 and Senex scrip/cash bid in 2013 (at A$672 million) were both rejected.

This bid demonstrates continued Chinese interest in pursuing overseas acquisitions, and follows GeoJade’s venture into the international E&P arena with the acquisition of Bankers Petroleum in 2016. However the Chinese state oil companies remain on the sidelines having been burned by poorly timed acquisitions in the past decade, and it is the smaller private Chinese E&Ps and investors that are coming to the foreground.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Breathing new life into Tyra

The Danish Underground Consortium ("DUC") has approved an investment of DKK21 billion (USD3.4 billion) for the full redevelopment of the Tyra field.

DUC members are Total/Mærsk (31.2 %), Shell (36.8 %), Chevron (12 %) and Nordsøfonden (20 %). The development will ensure continued production from Denmark's largest field for years to come and will also rejuvenate important Danish offshore infrastructure. About 80% of the investment will be for modification of existing and construction of new facilities, with the remainder for decommissioning and removal.

The Mærsk press release noted:
"Tyra is the centre of Denmark’s national energy infrastructure, processing 90% of the nation’s gas production.

Through new development projects and third party tie-ins, the redevelopment of Tyra can be a catalyst for extending the life of the Danish North Sea – not just for Maersk Oil and the DUC, but also for Denmark."

"The new infrastructure can enable operators to pursue new gas projects in the northern part of the North Sea, where the most recent development, Tyra Southeast, delivered first gas in 2015 and is producing above expectations."

"The redeveloped Tyra is expected to deliver approximately 60.000 barrels of oil equivalent per day at peak, and it is estimated that the redevelopment can enable the production of more than 200 million barrels of oil equivalent. Approximately 2/3 of the production is expected to be gas and 1/3 to be oil."

The redevelopment has received government approval and will commence in 2019 with the field being shut-in between November 2019 and Summer 2022 for the works to take place.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Kraken emerges

In mythology, the Kraken was a giant sea monster that dwelled in the present day North Sea. Today, the Kraken field is emerging with production growing day-by-day and a target to reach 50mbopd in H1 2018.

Gross production reached 23mbopd in November (month average) and the second processing train was brought online at the end of the month. The final DC2 production well is now onstream and the DC3 wells are near completion and expected to be brought onstream ahead of schedule. DC4 drilling will commence in 2018 and once online, will bring the field production to 50mbbl/d.
Kraken breathes some new life in the UK North Sea, being one of the small number of sizeable developments in the basin for a number of years. Its start-up has been relatively smooth, with first oil achieved at the end of June 2017 and a steady ramp-up since. Despite some above surface teething issues, these appear largely resolved with the crews getting more familiar with the FPSO operation and continued tuning of equipment.

Source: OGInsights analysis

The field is important for both EnQuest (70.5% operator) and Cairn (29.5%). With the achievement of plateau production, it is expected that one or both partners will farm-down their stake, not least having inherited additional interests from former partner First Oil when it went into administration. The long-life nature of the field, albeit heavy oil, should attract interest from major North Sea players.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Siccar Point portfolio tidy-up

Siccar Point has an attractive long-term portfolio currently weighted developments. The portfolio includes a number of earlier stage opportunities. In November, the company took the opportunity to prune the portfolio - bringing in a partner on Lyon and selling Jackdaw to a more natural pair of hands.

On 21st November, Siccar Point announced that it had farmed out UK licences P1854 and P1935 to Ineos. The blocks are located in the West of Shetlands and contain the Lyon prospect which is estimated to contain 1-3tcf of recoverable gas. Ineos now has interests in all four fields that make up the Lyon gas cluster: Lyon, Tobermory, Bunnehaven and Cragganmore - this has the potential to be a future gas hub in the area. For Ineos, the transaction builds upon the recent acquisition of the DONG portfolio as it seeks to become a major UK oil & gas player. Post the farm-out, Siccar Point will hold 33.3% in the blocks with Ineos holding 66.6%.

At the beginning of the month, Siccar Point also announced the divestment of its 26% stake in three blocks covering the Jackdaw discovery to Dyas. Jackdaw is operated by Shell (74%) and is a HPHT field. The discovery lies in the J-Block area and is subject to sanction. The project was put on hold by BG in 2014, but continues to hold substantial gas resources that is expected to be monetised in the early 2020s.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Statoil acquires Martin Linge from Total for USD1.45bn

Total has agreed to sell all of its interests in the Martin Linge field (51%) and Garantiana discovery (40%) on the Norwegian Continental Shelf to Statoil for USD1.45bn with an effective date of January 1st, 2017.Statoil will also receive remaining tax balances with a nominal post-tax value of more than USD 1 billion.

Martin Linge is a long life oil and gas development with estimated recoverable resources in excess of 300 mmboe. Originally scheduled to come onstream in 2017, first production is now expected in 2019 following a series of project delays and cost increases including a tragic accident at the Samsung ship yard in South Korea where the topside is being completed.

Martin Linge is being developed with a manned wellhead platform - the jacket substructure is already installed on location, while the topside is being completed at the Samsung yard in South-Korea and will be transported to Norway early 2018.

Operations will be controlled remotely from an onshore digital operations centre, enabling reduced operational expenditures. Electrification is made possible through a 160 km cable from shore, the longest AC power link in the world. This will reduce CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes per year. Following completion of the transaction, Statoil will increase from 19% to a 70% interest in the field.

Arnaud Breuillac, President, Exploration & Production at Total commented "The forthcoming acquisition of the Maersk Oil portfolio, which will make Total the second largest operator in the North Sea, leads us to review our portfolio in this area so as to focus on the assets in which Total will be able to generate synergies and reduce their breakeven points. In this context, given that Martin Linge is Total's only operated asset in Norway, there is limited scope to optimise operations, whereas with Statoil’s leading operating position on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Statoil is in a better position to optimize this asset for the benefit of all stakeholders. We are therefore satisfied with the agreement with Statoil, a long time trusted partner, which in addition, offers us a satisfactory value for this asset. Norway remains a strategic country for Total as one of the largest contributors to the Group's production and we of course intend to continue bringing our expertise to Norway by focusing in particular on major non-operated assets such as Ekofisk, Snohvit and Johan Sverdrup."

Statoil's EVP for D&P Norway commented "This transaction adds competitive growth assets to our portfolio on the Norwegian continental shelf. The Martin Linge project features innovative solutions to enhance safety, capture value and reduce emissions, in line with our strategy. By leveraging Statoil’s operational experience and existing contracts, we can realise additional opportunities and synergies from these assets."

The transaction involves the transfer of relevant employees from Total to Statoil and remains subject to final due diligence and approval from the relevant authorities. The transaction will increase Statoil's stake in Martin Linge from 19% to 70% with the DFI holding the remaining 30%.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Eni signs EPSA for Block 52 offshore Oman

The Government of the Sultanate of Oman, Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production ("OOCEP"), a subsidiary of state company Oman Oil Company ("OOC"), and Eni today entered into an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement ("EPSA") for Block 52, located offshore Oman.

Block 52 is an underexplored area with hydrocarbons potential located offshore in the southern region of Oman. Block 52 has an area of approx. 90,000 Km2, with water depths ranging from 10 to over 3,000 meters. Pursuant to the EPSA, Eni is the Operator of the block, through its subsidiary Eni Oman B.V., with an 85% stake, whilst its partner OOCEP holds the remaining 15% stake.

During the same event, held in Muscat, Eni and Qatar Petroleum signed an agreement for the assignment of 30% interest in Block 52 to Qatar Petroleum. Following the conclusion of such agreement and subject to the consent of the competent authorities of the Sultanate of Oman, the Contractor under the EPSA will consist of affiliates of Eni with a 55% stake, Qatar Petroleum with 30% and OOCEP with 15%.

'The signing of the Block 52 EPSA represents an important milestone in Eni’s strategy to reinforce its presence in the Middle East region. We wish to establish with the Sultanate of Oman, which is a historical Oil & Gas producer in the region, a long-lasting relationship in the best tradition of Eni. It is also remarkable that, the same day, we are welcoming Qatar Petroleum as a partner in Block 52, to join our efforts with such a strong partner that is currently leading the LNG business worldwide', commented Eni CEO, Claudio Descalzi.

Block 52 was awarded to Eni and OOCEP following an international bid round process launched in October 2016.

Source: Eni

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Kurdish operators receive July crude export payments

Kurdish operators have announced receipt of oil sales payments from the KRG today towards July exports:
DNO has confirmed that the Tawke partners have received USD39.5 million
Genel has confirmed that the Taq Taq partners have received and USD10.4 million

These payments are in line with recent payments and should be the last under the "old" system (i.e. before the recent change in terms in exchange for settlement fo historical receivables).

Payment for August sales should be made in November - these should increase with DNO's greater share in Tawke and Genel's elimination of the 30% Capacity Building Payment. However, the recent referendum results casts uncertainty on the way forward between the neighbours in the region and therefore the risk to Kurdistan's financial position and therefore payments has increased.