Mar 24, 2017
Shell sells Gabon assets to Carlyle-backed group
Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell its onshore production assets in Gabon to a company backed by Carlyle Group for up to $1bn in the latest sign of private equity investors buying mature oil and gasfields from large energy groups. The deal adds to a succession of disposals this year that have taken Shell two-thirds of the way towards its target to sell $30bn of assets by the end of 2018 as part of efforts to reduce debts after its £35bn takeover of BG Group. For Carlyle, the acquisition marks one of its biggest forays so far into oil and gas and highlights the appetite of private equity investors for cash-generative production assets put up for sale by large energy groups since oil prices crashed in 2014. The Gabon deal, which involves about 41,000 barrels per day of oil output, follows Shell's sale of UK North Sea assets to Chrysaor, backed by EIG Partners, a US private equity company, in January for up to $3.8bn. Last year, OMV, the Austrian oil and gas group, sold a package of North Sea interests to Siccar Point Energy, part-owned by Blackstone, another US private equity company, for up to $1bn. Meanwhile, Neptune Oil & Gas, financed by Carlyle and CVC Capital Partners, is in talks with Engie, the French energy group, to buy oil and gas assets in the North Sea, Africa and elsewhere, according to people involved. Carlyle has been negotiating with Shell over the Gabon assets for several months after fending off competition from Perenco, an independent European oil and gas company.
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