OMV has closed the sale of a 50% stake in the Ashtart oilfield, offshore Tunisia, to Perenco, it announced on August 2. The price of the deal was not made public.
In addition to the oilfield, in the Gulf of Gabes, Perenco has also received a 50% stake in the operating company, Societe de Recherches et d'Exploitation des Petroles en Tunisie (SEREPT). The remaining Ashtart and SEREPT interests are held by Entreprise Tunisienne d'Activités Petrolieres (ETAP).
The effective date of the transaction is January 1, 2016. Average net production to OMV in 2016 from Ashtart was 3,000 boepd.
Ashtart is a mature field, with production having started in the early 1970s. The field is reliant on water injection in order to maintain output.
OMV said the sale of Ashtart was in line with its strategy of portfolio optimisation. Despite this sale, the Austrian company said it remained committed to Tunisia, particularly in the south.
OMV went on to say it was working on the Nawara concession, in the Jenein Sud exploration area, where it has made a number of discoveries. The Nawara gas condensate field was approved in 2014 and, at the end of 2016, OMV said it was more than 70% complete. First gas is expected in mid-2018.
The sale of Ashtart was likely driven by the field’s declining status, with OMV opting to focus its attention on larger projects, such as Nawara, which can provide economies of scale. In 2016, the company paid only 434,000 euros (US$515,000) of taxes on the field, from a total paid in the country of 13.45 million euros (US$15.97 million). As part of their response to the current low oil price, majors have ambitious sales programmes.
Perenco, meanwhile, has been shopping around for mature fields that are no longer that attractive to majors. The company struck a deal with Total in February this year for a number of stakes in Gabon, with the super-major selling off production while maintaining exploration interests. Perenco also bought into a mature field offshore Trinidad & Tobago early this year.