Ophir Energy in bid to buy Premier Oil

Source: The Sunday Times

Ophir Energy is said to have approached Premier Oil with two secret bids to create a 5 billion combined oil exploration group, The Sunday Times reports citing an unnamed source.

Premier Oil’s board is however said to have turned down the offer as does not offer the company better strategic interest in a meeting held two weeks ago.

“A proposal was carefully considered but rejected as not a strategic fit and not in the best interests of shareholders.” The Sunday Times quotes a source.

Although neither the Scottish company nor Ophir have commented on the matter the report says that the new firm that would operate in East Africa and Asia as well as the Falklands would make the new outfit among the top 5 largest companies in London after BP, Shell, BG and Tullow Oil.

The report says the two companies could result make a statement in regards to the deal today to the FTSE following the leak of the information to the public and a reaction of the stock market with Premier’s shares rising following the news.

It is said that Ophir Energy has approached Premier since February when the latter’s CEO Simon Lockett announced its stepping down after nine years at the helm of the company saying he was “looking forward to pursuing new business opportunities.”

Premier Oil has its activities in the region in Kenya after signing of two PSCs for offshore exploration blocks L10A and L10B in 2011 and also has interest in Block 2B which has the Pearl project.

Ophir Energy on the other hand has interest in Tanzania in Blocks 1, 3 and 4 and earlier this year hit a dry hole at the Mlinzi Mbali-1 site.

Ophir Energy is however yet to get into the Ugandan market after the Ugandan government stopped its plans to take over Dominion’s assets in the country for not following the specified procedure for transfer of assets in the energy sector.

Ophir also has interests in Kenya in the Block L9 exploration block was originally awarded in May 2011 with Dominion Petroleum Kenya (a wholly owned subsidiary of Ophir Energy following an acquisition worth $186 million).


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