The deal

French oil company Maurel & Prom (M&P) has announced the 100% purchase of Cayman Islands-registered oil company Assala Energy from private equity fund Carlyle Group.

The purchase includes Assala’s Gabon-focused subsidiaries and assets.

Why it matters

M&P already produce oil in Gabon and has done so for more than 15 years. The company already has three projects in the country, namely the 100%-owned exploratory Kari and Nyanga-Mayombe projects and the producing Ezanga project, of which the company owns 80% as an operator and 91.43% as an explorer.

In the first half of 2023, Assala produced over 40,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) across its nine operational projects. Assala and M&P’s combined production in this first half of the deal will exceed 56,500bpd in Gabon alone upon the deal’s completion.

M&P will benefit from greater operational efficiencies and economies of scale as part of the purchase. In the deal, M&P will acquire Assala’s Gamba oil export terminal and associated pipeline infrastructure, allowing the former to control the transportation and distribution of its Gabonese production.

M&P CEO Olivier de Langavant stated: “The acquisition of Assala represents a step change for M&P. The combination of our portfolios provides the group with a large operated base of long-life, low-cost onshore assets offering long-term visibility and substantial development potential in a stable country where M&P has been operating for over 15 years.”

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The purchase also strengthens M&P’s relationship with the Gabonese Government, which will increase its holding in Assala’s Assala Gabon subsidiary from 25% to 27.5% as part of the deal. The government will also hold the right to increase that stake by 12.5% within five years.

The details

M&P purchased 100% of Assala and Assala’s stakes in all its subsidiaries in exchange for $730m of cash, which is open to M&P using debt financing. The deal will be finalised by Q4 2023.

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