Chinese oil major, China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) is bidding to acquire majority stake in Kenya’s Lokichar-basin project according to local media.
The Lokichar joint venture partners; Tullow Oil Plc, Africa Oil Corp and Total are seeking to offload at least 32.5% and retain 30, 25 and 12.5 % respectively, Nairobi-based Daily Nation newspaper reported, quoting sources.
Currently, Tullow has a 50%, with Canadian firm Africa Oil and Total SA holding 25% each. Tullow has announced that it is selling 20% of its shares, while Total is offloading 12.5%
Kenya is looking at CNOOC, which owns 33% stake in Uganda’s Albertine Graben with JVC partners Tullow and Total as the most strategic and preferred partner.
The Nation quotes Tullow Kenya managing director Martin Mbogo as saying that discussions were ongoing but “those in this process demand that we honor the non-disclosure agreements”.
“However, we are looking for a company that shares in the vision of the project in Kenya and has the capacity to work in such frontier markets … our expectation is that by June, we’ll have narrowed down to who is interested and what we can get out of this, then conclude,” Mbogo said.
The entry of CNOOC into Kenya is expected to accelerate the project which has been held back by Tullow’s financial woes and Total’s indecision on key aspects of the project.
The two firms have hired Paris-based investment bank Natixis SA to assist in finding the best investor in the project.