Carlyle has worked with the Assala management team to increase Assala’s net production by nearly 30% to 45kbbl/d, enhance its reserves life from five to eight years at the end of 2022, with a reserves replacement ratio of more than 160%


Carlyle to sell Assala Energy to Maurel & Prom. (Credit: Maria Lupan on Unsplash)

US-based investment firm Carlyle has signed an agreement to divest its Gabon-focused oil exploration and production firm Assala Energy to French oil and gas company Maurel & Prom for $730m.

The agreement follows Carlyle’s announcement in October last year, considering the sale of Assala Energy to mitigate increasing energy prices worldwide.

In June this year, Maurel & Prom announced that it is in advanced discussions with the Assala Energy shareholder, to acquire all the shares of Assala.

The acquisition is expected to be completed between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024, subject to approvals from the Gabonese government and CEMAC authorities.

Maurel & Prom will finance the transaction consideration by extending its existing $183m bank debt facility and a one-year acquisition facility of up to $750m.

Assala CEO David Roux said: “We want to thank Carlyle for its financial and strategic support throughout Assala’s growth journey, from the initial carve out from Shell in 2017 to the successes of higher production and reserves growth.

“We also want to thank the Government of Gabon for the support it provided throughout this intensive investment and redevelopment period. We are proud of our accomplishments so far and look forward to our business’s next stage of growth.

“The combination with M&P will create a great platform, with its business anchored in Gabon and a continued focus on creating value for its employees, local communities, governments and shareholders.”

In 2017, Carlyle invested $1.3bn in Assala through Carlyle International Energy Partners, its private equity fund that invests in energy projects in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

During its ownership, Carlyle has worked with the Assala management team to support the company’s growth and rejuvenate its assets, investing in operations, infrastructure and M&A.

Assala’s net production increased by nearly 30% to 45kbbl/d and its reserves life from five to eight years at the end of 2022, with a reserves replacement ratio of more than 160%.

Building on its investment, Assala resumed exploration activity in 2020, and has become a large independent exploration and production firm in West Africa, said Carlyle.

Carlyle International Energy Partners co-head Bob Maguire said: “Carlyle has helped Assala become a responsible operator, employer and partner and has enabled it to contribute significantly to the sustainable economic future of Gabon’s energy industry.”

Carlyle International Energy Partners co-head Guido Funes Nova said: “Our investment in Assala is a great example of how Carlyle works in partnership with management teams to deliver long-term value from mature assets for the benefit of our investors as well as the local economy and communities, while reducing emissions intensity.

“Assala is now one of the most efficient and skilled operators of mature onshore assets in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a long runway for future sustainable value creation.”

Morgan Stanley, Hannam & Partners, and Mandiri Sekuritas served as financial advisors, Herbert Smith Freehills Paris as legal advisors, and Bracewell as legal advisors to Maurel & Prom, on the transaction.

Citi served as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins as legal advisor to Carlyle.