Carlyle Group is preparing to sell its Gabon-focused Assala Energy, with the aim of raising $1 billion.
Reuters reported the news, citing industry sources, while the Financial Times also reported it citing people familiar with the plan.
Carlyle has launched a strategic review of the business. It formed Assala with the acquisition of Shell’s Gabon operations in 2017, paying $628 million for the assets. It bought a licence from Total Gabon in 2018 and then added more licences in 2019.
There is no certainty about a deal, the FT said. A transaction may involve a sale of all or part of the company, or a merger with another producer.
High energy prices have prompted Carlyle’s interest in examining a sale, with reports that some companies have already expressed interest.
Carlyle also has stakes in North Sea-focused Neptune Energy, Swiss refiner Varo Energy and Spain’s Cepsa.
At the recent Energy Intelligence Forum, Carlyle head of impact Meg Starr defended keeping stakes in energy companies. Selling such assets would be an easy way of reducing emissions, she said, but would not reduce the amount of carbon emitted.
Assala produces just over 50,000 barrels per day of oil. It also provides gas to the local Gamba power plant, providing electricity to the community. The company has pointed to this as an instance of reducing emissions, with the gas acting as an alternative to diesel.
The Carlyle company has production licences at Rabi Kounga II, Toucan II, Bende M’Bassou Totou II, Koula/Damier, Gamba/Ivinga and Atora II. It also has a non-operated stake in the Tsiengui production licence.
In 2019, Assala gained three onshore exploration licences: Mutamba-Iroru II, Nziembou II & Ozigo II.
The company has the stated policy of seeking out brownfield assets, running them more efficiently and reducing the carbon footprint. As of 2021, Assala had drilled 20 new wells and worked over 70 more.