Perenco has signed a deal to buy the Etinde stake held by New Age (African Global Energy) for an undisclosed amount, junior partner in the project Bowleven has said.
Secretive Perenco made no immediate comment on the deal. It has not disclosed the purchase price. A Perenco representative said only that the company was in “exclusive talks”.
New Age is the operator of the Etinde project with a 37.5% stake. Russia’s Lukoil also has a 37.5% stake, while London-listed Bowleven has 25%. Lukoil and Bowleven both have pre-emption rights that they must trigger within the next 30 days.
The deal also requires approval from Cameroon’s government.
Bowleven said that, regardless of the change of operator, it would still be liable to receive a $25 million payment on final investment decision (FID).
In March, Bowleven said it expected the partners would reach FID later this year.
“The prospect of Perenco becoming our partner and operator at the Etinde permit is very positive news. We believe that Perenco’s proven Cameroon oil and gas developments and substantial experience provide an opportunity to accelerate our efforts to secure FID and the associated $25mn payment to Bowleven,” said Bowleven CEO Eli Chahin.
“We look forward to engaging with Perenco and we will update shareholders in relation to Etinde developments in due course.”
Etinde has struggled to make progress, with partners raising and dropping a number of project alternatives. The most recent iteration, as of the end of 2021, was for exports via Equatorial Guinea’s facilities. A competent person’s report in 2019 said Etinde held about 1 trillion cubic feet of wet gas in place.
Both governments would have to sign off on this plan, as would Marathon Oil and various joint ventures owning facilities on the Punta Europa complex, on Bioko Island.
Perenco has a floating LNG facility in Cameroon, offshore Kribi, around 140 km from Etinde. The Hilli Episeyo began producing in May 2018. It has produced around 5 million tonnes thus far.
The Etinde partners have discussed the use of the Hilli Episeyo vessel to export gas in the past.
“The most significant hurdle is the distance to the Golar owned vessel and its capacity to process a direct gas feed from Etinde,” said Bowleven in 2019.