Gabon’s national oil company has finalised an agreement to acquire Assala Energy from Carlyle Group for $1.3bn, exercising its pre-emptive rights to the sale.  

This move comes after France’s Maurel & Prom (M&P) had in August 2023 agreed to purchase Assala Energy for $730m (€677.45m), including the assumption of a $600m credit facility. 

The move by GOC follows a military coup in the West African nation in late August 2023, which prompted the company to assert its pre-emptive right in November 2023, according to Reuters.  

M&P, which is present in Gabon with three projects, including the 100%-owned Kari and Nyanga-Mayombe exploratory projects and a 91.43% exploratory interest in the producing Ezanga project, was initially set to expand its operations through the Assala acquisition. 

In a statement, M&P said the agreement between GOC and Carlyle “occurred in the context of GOC’s sovereign right of pre-emption and supersedes the sale and purchase agreement signed by M&P and Carlyle on 15 August 2023.  

“M&P confirms and reiterates its wish to remain a trusted partner of the Republic of Gabon, as evidenced by its presence and its projects in the country for nearly 20 years now.” 

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Carlyle has confirmed that the terms of the new deal with Gabon’s national oil company are “materially the same” as those agreed upon with M&P.  

The office of Gabon’s presidency has expressed that this acquisition is strategic for the nation, allowing it to secure and manage its natural resources effectively and bolster its financial position. 

Assala Energy, an oil and gas exploration and production company, focuses on investing in mid-life and mature assets to enhance operational efficiency and boost production levels.  

Carlyle invested in the company in 2017 through its Carlyle International Energy Partners fund. 

Since then, according to Carlyle, Assala has seen a 30% increase in net production to around 45,000 barrels per day,  

Gabon, a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, contributes roughly 200,000 barrels of oil per day to the global market, accounting for around 0.2% of the world’s oil supply.