March 12, 2012 / 2:25 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-Tidewater may not charter more vessels in Angola

* Says no charters in Angola till JV talks with Sonangol resolved

* Co shares down 5 pct

March 12 (Reuters) - Offshore vessels provider Tidewater Inc said Sonatide, its partnership with Angola’s state oil company, will not take up new charters or extend existing ones in the country until the two parties resolve ongoing joint venture talks.

Tidewater said its venture agreement with Angola’s Sonangol expires on March 31, but Sonangol has put forth additional and modified terms to the partnership contract.

Tidewater said it responded to the new terms, which are being reviewed by Sonangol.

The companies have extended the original joint venture agreement for Sonatide several times, but Tidewater said it could move its vessels out of Angola, if necessary.

“Given these unexpected developments, the company has begun the process of evaluating the potential movement of its vessels currently dedicated to work in Angola to other markets,” New Orleans-based Tidewater said in a statement.

In the quarter ended December 31, Tidewater’s Angolan operations generated about a fourth of its vessel revenue.

Tidewater shares, which have gained 17 percent so far this year, were down 5 percent at $55.86 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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