Battle for Stake in Senegal Oil Asset Nears End

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Australian independent Far Limited looks set to finally sell its 13.75% interest in the $4 billion Sangomar oil development in Senegal to its compatriot Woodside, the project's operator. If the deal does go ahead, it would end a bizarre scrap over the West African asset that has involved Russian giant Lukoil, Indian state oil company ONGC and a little-known minnow, Remus Petroleum. Senegal is set to become Africa's newest oil producer in 2023, when the deepwater Sangomar field is scheduled to come on line (IOD Dec.3'20). During the first phase of development, the 500 million barrel field will have the capacity to produce 100,000 barrels per day of crude from a floating production and storage unit to be supplied by Japan's Modec. The consortium overseeing the project underwent a big change last year, when Woodside bought out Cairn Energy's 40% stake in the wider RSSD acreage for $300 million, having pre-empted a deal for Lukoil to buy the stake. Several months later, Far announced it had defaulted on its commitments to Sangomar and agreed to sell its stake to ONGC for $45 million, a sale that was also trumped by Woodside. Numerous Twists and Turns In a bizarre chain of events, Far then received a $159 million takeover proposal from Remus Horizons, a Guernsey-registered entity with no track record in the oil industry that is loosely affiliated to Hong Kong-based Remus Corp. The bid subsequently petered out and Lukoil then stepped in with a higher offer for Far, which it later withdrew (IOD Feb.17'21). Far also has exploration assets in Guinea Bissau, Gambia and Australia. Remus Horizons then popped up with a second takeover offer earlier this month, forcing Far to delay -- once again -- a planned shareholder meeting that would have approved the sale of the Sangomar stake to Woodside. But on Thursday, Far said there would be no deal with Remus as the license of the Guernsey fund had just been suspended and its offer letter "contained a number of factual inaccuracies." Remus' CEO, former BP trader Sath Kanagarajah, did not respond to an email request for comment. On Apr. 28, Far's shareholders are expected to vote in favor of the deal with Woodside, allowing it to increase its overall stake in Sangomar to more than 80%. Senegal's state oil company Petrosen is the only other shareholder. Paul Sampson, London

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