After a military coup in Gabon, the national oil company sought to exercise its pre-emptive right on the acquisition of Assala Energy, which supersedes Carlyle’s previous agreement with French oil and gas company Maurel & Prom


Assala Energy holds seven onshore production licenses in Gabon. (Credit: Grant Durr on Unsplash)

Gabon’s state-owned oil company Gabon Oil Company (GOC) has agreed to acquire Assala Energy, an oil and gas company owned by private investor Carlyle, for $1.3bn.

In August last year, Carlyle agreed to sell Assala Energy to French oil and gas company Maurel & Prom for $730m, which also includes rolling over a $600m credit facility.

After a military coup in Gabon in late August, the national oil company sought to exercise its preemptive right on the acquisition in November last year.

The current agreement with GOC supersedes the previous agreement with Maurel & Prom.

According to the office of Gabon’s presidency, the transaction would allow the West African country to secure and manage its natural resources and boost its finances.

CIEP, Carlyle’s energy business unit out of the US, first invested in Assala in 2017 when it acquired Shell’s ageing operations in Gabon for $628m.

Assala has increased its production in the country by 30% to 45,000 bpd and has also increased the size of its oil and gas reserves by 160%, since the 2017 acquisition.

Assala Energy holds seven onshore production licenses in Gabon, operating six of them directly, along with a pipeline network and the Gamba export terminal.

It is the country’s second-largest producer, with brownfield assets in Gabon and implemented high-quality maintenance, risk management, and well interventions to enhance production.

Gabon is the second-smallest producer among the OPEC, with about 200,000 bpd of crude oil.

The country aims to increase its production to 220,000bpd by advancing onshore and offshore exploration, new investments from IOCs and the redevelopment of mature and marginal fields.

The state-owned oil company is currently in talks with foreign partners to acquire new technologies aimed at halting declining production and optimizing mature fields.

African Energy Chamber (AEC) executive chairman NJ Ayuk said: “We encourage and support Gabon in taking on this world-class initiative, led by President Brice Oligui Nguema and Minister of Petroleum and Gas Marcel Abéké.

“This deal not only demonstrates Gabon’s commitment to increasing its hydrocarbon production, but also attracting more investment in key energy assets. The Chamber looks forward to Gabon showcasing its upstream opportunities in Paris this May.

“This new dynamism is good for Gabon and for the Chamber, who stand shoulder to shoulder in driving the Gabonese and African oil and gas industry forward.”