LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Private equity-backed Mazarine Energy is seeking to sell up to half of its stakes in its Tunisian oil exploration licences to accelerate their development, its CEO told Reuters.
Oil and gas producers and explorers have been hit hard by the slide in oil prices in the wake of the collapse in global demand because of the coronavirus epidemic. Many are now scrambling to cut costs and find new sources of funding.
Mazarine, backed by Carlyle Group since 2016, currently produces 1,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Tunisia and plans to drill two new wells there in 2021, said Chief Executive Edward van Kersbergen.
After reducing its operation costs in recent months to withstand oil prices of about $40 a barrel, Mazarine now wants to bring in a partner to shoulder costs and expand its activity in the north African country.
“Tunisia just needs more activity,” van Kersbergen said. “We want to fast track, to accelerate. That’s the reason why we are going out to the market to find a partner.”
Mazarine, one of the largest licence holders in Tunisia, is looking to sell up to half of its stakes in the Ghrib, SMG-1, Zaafrane and Douiret concessions, van Kersbergen said.
“We see a multitude of prospects,” he said. “In Tunisia it is very much a matter of drilling a large amount of relatively small prospects. In order to be successful you need to maintain a very active programme.”
The company this year launched a seismic survey over 900 square km covering the eastern part of the Zaafrane permit and western part of the Douiret permit, van Kersbergen said.
Mazarine also has operations in Romania and is exploring opportunities to enter other countries, he added.