Driven by efforts by Africa’s national oil companies to optimize production and by majors’ exits in some of the continent’s hydrocarbons-rich basins, Africa’s oil and gas sector has recorded an increase in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in 2022 compared to previous years, according to Rystad Energy’s Africa Regional Trends Report.
With over $12 billion worth of M&A deals signed in the first half of 2022 in Africa, activities are likely to surpass pre-pandemic levels.
Tullow Oil Merges with Capricorn Energy
In mid-June 2022, Tullow Oil signed an all-stock merger agreement with Capricorn Energy in a $827 million deal that will create Africa’s largest listed independent African focused energy company. Upon finalization, Tullow Oil will hold 53% of the combined group while Capricorn will own 47%. The new integrated firm will own one billion barrels worth of resources and is expected to produce 100,000 barrels per day by 2025 across Africa in countries including Ghana, Kenya, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Egypt and Senegal.
Afentra Acquires Block 3/05 in Angola
London listed oil and gas independent Afentra marked its entry into Angola in May, acquiring stakes in two offshore blocks – Block 3/05 and Block 23 – in the Lower Congo and Kwanza basins for $80 million.
Somoil, Sirius Petroleum Buy into Angola Blocks
In April this year as part of a farmout, Angolan state energy firm Sonangol entered into a $336 million deal with Sirius Petroleum and Somoil for the two firms to participate in producing Blocks 18 and 31 which are operated by bp. With Angola taking over the number one spot as Africa’s largest oil producer from Nigeria in June 2022, the deal, if it progresses, will increase investments across the country’s upstream sector, accelerating production even further.
Namcor, Partners Acquire Angolan Blocks
In April 2022, a joint venture comprising Namibia’s state owned oil company, NAMCOR, Sequa Petroleum and Petrolog entered into a $350 million deal with Angolan NOC, Sonangol to acquire a 10% interest in producing block 15/06, as well as a 40% and 35% in Blocks 23 and 27, respectively.
Eni, bp Merge Angolan Operations
Global energy majors Eni and bp signed an agreement in March 2022 to create Azule Energy, merging both companies’ Angolan operations to create a new independent joint venture. The 50/50 company will be Angola’s largest oil producer with over 200,000 barrels equivalent a day (boe/d) of net oil and gas production and two billion barrels equivalent of net resources. The firm will own 16 licenses in the country including in upcoming projects such as Agogo and PAJ oil initiatives in Blocks 15/06 and 31, respectively. Azule Energy will also develop Angola’s first non-associated gas project, the New Gas Consortium. The merger is expected to boost the country’s production capacity and fast-track the energy transition through the development of gas projects.
Seplat Energy Acquires ExxonMobil’s Nigerian Asset
In February 2022, Nigerian independent oil and gas company, Seplat Energy, proposed to acquire ExxonMobil’s shallow water business in Nigeria in a $1.2 billion deal. Pending approval, the deal will see Seplat Energy acquiring a 40% stake in four oil mining licenses comprising over 90 shallow-water and onshore platforms and 300 producing wells, the Qua Iboe export terminal and natural gas recovery plants at EAP and Oslo.
While these announced deals have already increased M&A activities across Africa’s oil and gas sector in 2022, a wide range of planned field acquisition deals including Eni’s plan to sell its share in Ivory Coast, Shell’s plan to sell Nigerian assets and Shell and Eni’s plans to exit Tunisia will result in a further uptick in M&A deals.