Tullow Oil CEO and founder Aidan Heavey has ruled out selling-off the company’s Ghana assets “even if an offer [to buy] was high enough. “Ghana is a key part of our growth strategy, so it’s not for sale,” he told staff of the company as it marked its 25th anniversary this year.
Tullow’s assets include its interests in the Jubilee oil field which started production last December and remains its largest-ever discovery. The field contains recoverable reserves of up to 1 billion barrels.
Tullow is lead-operator of the field with an initial 34.7% interest. Its interest will increase to 36.5% if it receives approval from the Government of Ghana and other authorities for its buy-out of EO Group Limited; a group of Private Ghanaian partners with interest in the field.
The Jubilee find has been followed by the Enyenra and Tweneboah-field discoveries, which are currently being appraised.
Jubilee output is nearing its peak of 120,000 barrels per day after starting off at around 50,000 barrels per day.
The value of Tullow’s local assets, including potential future revenues and profits, is seen at several billions of dollars — considering that Kosmos Energy LLC, the Texas-based, private-equity-backed explorer with the second-largest stake (23.49%) in Jubilee, had planned a US$4billion sell-off to American multinational oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil early last year.
But the Kosmos-Exxon Mobil deal was scuppered by the Government of Ghana which blocked the transaction, citing improprieties on the part of Kosmos and the right of first refusal.
Since then, Kosmos has affirmed its commitment to stay in the country and, like Tullow, is eyeing a listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) within this year to encourage the local private sector to be part-owners of the company.
Tullow IPO update
The oil company’s IPO, launched on June 13 and ending on Monday, July 4, 2011, is going “very well” according to Jeff Foli of IC Securities Ghana Limited, the financial advisor and sponsoring-broker for the offer.
Tullow has offered for sale four million shares representing 0.45% of the company’s issued ordinary share capital, at a price of GH¢31 per share. It expects to raise a total GH¢124 million.
“In terms of the target, we are very close,” Foli said on Thursday, June 30, noting there had been increased subscription in the final week of June as workers received their pay-cheques.
“Turnout has been strong, with the balance skewed in favour of local institutional investors for a number of reasons: fund managers had greater access to information even before the IPO and showed stronger willingness to participate because of their prior knowledge of the company,” he disclosed.
Tullow is listed on the London and Irish stock exchanges, where in the past ten years its share price has appreciated by approximately 1268%.
Foli said this performance, coupled with Tullow’s high profitability and capitalisation indicators, has drawn investors to the offer.
“We very much believe in the company, and people should get more information on the offer as it enters its last day so they can take advantage of this promising opportunity.”
Gayheart Mensah, Communications Manager of Tullow Ghana, confirmed to B&FT: “From all indications, it will do well… It appears there is high institutional and individual interest. We are hoping it will go well.”