Hungarian fuels group MOL has entered Norway by acquiring 100% ownership in Ithaca Petroleum Norge from Ithaca Petroleum Ltd. for USD 60 million. MOL said the deal fits well its Exploration & Production strategy which "aims to further balance its country risk profile as well as to seek new accretive international exploration and development opportunities."
IPN’s portfolio includes 14
licences in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), out of which three are
operated by IPN. The committed work program contains three exploration wells in
2015-2016. IPN’s strong exploration-focused team with deep experience on the
NCS is also part of the deal.
According to a statement by the
Hungarian firm, "the transaction provides an excellent starting point for
MOL to enter Norway, to extend its presence in the North Sea region and enhance
its international exploration portfolio. MOL’s target is to further extend its
portfolio in Norway and add additional assets and licenses to IPN."
It adds that IPN, which is
pre-qualified as operator in Norway, and the acquisition of the company will
help MOL in achieving its ultimate goal to become a well-reputed offshore
operator in the region. MOL sees also synergy potential with its already
existing North Sea operations in the United Kingdom.
In addition to the acquisition
price of USD 60 million, the parties have agreed a discovery bonus in a total
amount of up to USD 30 million. The acquisition will be fully funded by the
Group’s operating cash-flow. The completion of the transaction is subject to
the approval of the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.
MOL’s Group Executive Vice
President for Upstream, Alexander Dodds commented by saying that "entering
Norway as one of the most investor friendly countries is an important milestone
in our E&P Strategy," adding that the deal “enhances our positions in
the lower risk offshore North Sea area where we are in the process of building
a new production hub and know-how center along the whole E&P value chain
that should serve as a solid basis to our long term goals in the region."
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