Buyout firm Blackstone Group LP and privately held LLOG Exploration Co. are working with an investment bank to sell their Gulf of Mexico (GoM) oil exploration joint venture for more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said Nov. 6.
The attempted divestment is the latest to emerge from the U.S. GoM as higher oil prices allow those with capital-intensive investments in the basin to sell them at much more attractive valuations than in recent years.
This is a boon for both strategic players such as LLOG, Exxon Mobil Corp. and China’s Nexen Petroleum, which can deploy the cash from sales into other production areas, and private equity firms including Blackstone and First Reserve, which need to return capital to investors after holding assets for a certain period.
The LLOG Bluewater joint venture between Blackstone and LLOG was announced in November 2012, with a pledge to invest more than $1.2 billion to bolster LLOG’s operations in the GoM.
The duo is working with Barclays Plc to sell the venture, according to four sources aware of the matter. Initial information was sent out to potential buyers last week, one of the sources added.
Blackstone and Barclays declined to comment. LLOG did not respond to a request for comment.
Covington, Louisiana-based LLOG is one of the largest private oil and gas explorers in the GoM. Across its business, it had average gross daily production in 2017 of 135,000 barrels of oil equivalent, according to its website.
An official with the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH), the regulator that runs the auctions, said the joint venture auctions have not been canceled.
Chevron in July kicked off the sale of its central North Sea oil and gas fields Alba, Alder, Captain, Elgin/Franklin, Erskine and Jade as well as the Britannia platform and its satellites.
Egypt expects investments of at least $750 million to $800 million in the first stage of exploration in the 12 concessions, Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said during a press conference.