May 18, 2020 / 6:33 AM / 16 days ago

Total calls off plan to buy Occidental Petroleum's Ghana assets

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French oil and gas company Total is seen in a petrol station in Paris, France February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Total (TOTF.PA) has called off a plan to acquire Occidental Petroleum’s (OXY.N) assets in Ghana, which was conditional on the completion of the acquisition of Occidental’s other assets in Algeria, the French energy company said on Monday.

The deal was part of an $8.8 billion agreement reached between Total and Occidental to over Anadarko’s assets in Mozambique, Ghana, Algeria, and South Africa. Occidental in 2019 decided to unload those assets as part of a $38 billion deal to buy Anadarko Petroleum that has soured due to the global downturn in fuel demand.

While a deal over the assets in Mozambique has been reached, Total said that an agreement over the assets in Ghana fell through after authorities in Algiers blocked Total’s acquisition of Occidental’s assets in Algeria.

The acquisition of assets in Ghana was conditional upon the completion of the Algeria asset sale, Total said. Algeria blocked Occidental’s deal to sell those assets earlier in the month.

Total added that Occidental had informed the company that, as part of an understanding with the Algerian authorities, that Occidental would not be in a position to sell its interests in Algeria.

“Given the extraordinary market environment and the lack of visibility that the group faces... Total has decided not to pursue the completion of the purchase of the Ghana assets,” Total said in a statement.

Occidental shares have been under pressure all year, and has cut staff and reduced expenses to deal with its high levels of debt taken on during the Anadarko acquisition. Shares rose $1.26 on Monday, or 9%, to $15.08 each. Total shares rose 7.4% on Monday.

Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by Jason Neely, Louise Heavens and David Gregorio

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