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    Perenco takes the reins in Cameroon


Perenco is set to become the new operator of Cameroon's Etinde gas development.

by: Callum Cyrus

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Perenco takes the reins in Cameroon

Perenco, an Anglo-French independent E&P company, has signed a definitive conditional agreement to purchase New Age (African Global Energy)'s 37.5% operated stake in the Etinde gas condensate field offshore Cameroon.

The news was revealed June 8 by the gas field's minority partner, Africa-focused oil and gas E&P company Bowleven.

There is renewed interest in monetising more of sub-Saharan Africa's gas resources following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. The UN's former climate envoy Mary Robinson recently called for more investment into the sector as part of a "just, equitable" energy transition, which she says "implies some use of gas", the Guardian reported on June 7.

Perenco's operatorship is intended to accelerate Etinde's further development, aimed at meeting European gas demand.

The shallow water field suffered from some bottlenecks related to its financing and export strategy. Currently, the partners plan to export gas through Equatorial Guinea's Punta Europa export infrastructure, after earlier plans to ship gas domestically fell by the wayside.

Perenco's acquisition has received the backing of the African Energy Chamber, which believes it could breathe "new life" into African ambitions to become a leading oil and gas player. Perenco already operates a number of gas projects in Cameroon, in addition to fellow African producers Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville.

The chamber said: "Perenco [...] is well-positioned to take advantage of the enormous prospect presented by the field, as well as from surrounding fields, and is expected to move quickly towards the monetisation of gas to be used domestically, regionally, and for export to transcontinental market such as Europe, which has recently been in dire need of new, committed gas partners, giving new life to Africa's ambitions to become a leading play in the future oil and gas economy."

While Etinde's FID is due later this year, the operating consortia still needs to secure government-level agreements from both Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, as well as from Marathon Oil, which operates Punta Europa's export facility.

Following the acquisition, Perenco and Russia's Lukoil will both own 37.5% shareholdings in Etinde. Bowleven has a 20% stake, and along with Lukoil will have a pre-emptive right to match Perenco's offer.

New Age's pre-drill targets for the Etinde permit, compiled on a risked P50 GIIP basis, suggest 1.4bn ft3 of in-place gas resources will be extracted, from five development prospects.

Bowleven's CEO Eli Chahin said: "The prospect of Perenco becoming our partner and operator at the Etinde permit is very positive news.

"We believe that Perenco’s proven Cameroon oil and gas developments and substantial experience provides an opportunity to accelerate our efforts to secure FID and the associated $25mn payment to Bowleven," he continued. "We look forward to engaging with Perenco and we will update shareholders in relation to Etinde developments in due course."

Bowleven's CEO Eli Chahin said: "The prospect of Perenco becoming our partner and operator at the Etinde permit is very positive news.