OIL may buy Maurel et Prom's Gabon oil assets: report

State owned oil major Oil India Ltd is planning to buy gas assets in West Africa from French oil producer Maurel et Prom for $200 million, The Economic Times today reported, citing a senior executive at the company.

"We will be announcing another acquisition of a significant oil and gas asset for about $200 million in Africa by July end," the executive told the paper and added, "we are in the final stages of negotiations currently."

With a market capitalisation of €1.4 billion, Maurel et Prom is France's second-biggest oil company after Total S A.

It focuses on Africa and Latin America, and holds a 100 per cent interest in 5 fields and an 85 per cent stake in 4 others in Gabon.

It owns a 100-per cent stake in the exploration fields in Omoueyi, Nyanga Mayombe, Kari and Etekamba permits, a 100-per cent stake in the Onal, OMBG and Banio production permits, and an 85 per cent stake in the Onal, OMBG, OMGW and Omko production permits.

Oil India has been eying the Gabon assets since early 2011 and has held several rounds of talks with Maurel et Prom. It was rumoured that Oil India may team up with state-run refiner Indian Oil Corp for acquiring the Gabon assets of the Paris-based company.

Oil India, which already has stakes in oil assets in Gabon, also holds interest in oil assets in Nigeria, Iran, Libya and Sudan.

State-owned China Petrochemical Corp, better known as Sinopec, was in late 2012 mulling acquiring Maurel & Prom in a deal that could value the French oil explorer at more than $2 billion. (See: Sinopec eyes French oil major Maurel & Prom)

The move from China's biggest refiner had come after Maurel & Prom's years of on-and-off talks with Indian Oil, failed to bring about a reasonable bid for the entire company.

In February, the Sunday Telegraph reported that state-backed Indonesian energy company Pertamina had made an indicative offer of up to €19 a share for Maurel & Prom.

But the company denied that it has received any bid from Pertamina and said in a statement that it was guarding shareholders against "rumors of a possible financial transaction" and was not "subject to the elements of valuation recently mentioned by the press."