Gas group Energean to pay dividend from end 2022 - CEO

LONDON (Reuters) - Eastern Mediterranean gas group Energean expects to pay its maiden dividend from the end of 2022, Chief Executive Mathios Rigas told Reuters on Thursday, after it gave the green light to a new Israeli gas field development.

The Karish North field will be connected via a 5.4 kilometre (3.36 mile) pipeline to Energean’s 8 billion cubic metre-per-year floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit where the main Karish field is expected to start production by year-end with the bulk of output contracted out already.

“If 2022 is the (first full) year we start producing from Karish, end of 2022 ... is going to be the first time we can start paying dividends to our shareholders,” Rigas said, adding the target was to pay a stable dividend over coming years.

This will be underpinned by at least $1 billion in earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation in 2023, he said.

Energean also said it had signed an 18-month, $700 million loan facility with J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley to help fund the new development and pay for the acquisition of a minority stake in Energean Israel from private equity firm Kerogen.

Energean, which floated on the London stock exchange in 2018, also extended its $1.45 billion project finance loan by nine months to September 2022.

Rigas said there would be another rejigging of Energean’s debt structure this year, whereby debt will be replaced with debt without the issuance of fresh equity.

The $150 million Karish North field, which was discovered less than two years ago and is expected to produce 3 billion cubic metres a year, is due to start production in the second half of 2023, the company said in a statement.

The final investment decision had been expected by the end of 2020.

Reporting by Ron Bousso and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Jason Neely and Steve Orlofsky