Exclusive: Carlyle prepares sale of Gabon oil firm Assala Energy - sources

A general view of the lobby outside the Carlyle Group offices in Washington
A general view of the lobby outside the Carlyle Group offices in Washington, File. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
  • Carlyle hopes to raise over $1 billion from sale -sources
  • Assala acquired in 2017 with Shell deal in Gabon

LONDON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Private equity fund Carlyle Group (CG.O) is preparing to launch the sale of its Gabon-focused oil and gas producer Assala Energy, hoping to raise over $1 billion amid high global energy prices, industry sources said.

Carlyle International Energy Partners, the fund's energy arm, first invested in Assala in 2017 when it acquired Shell's (SHEL.L) operations in Gabon for $628 million.

Assala, which acquired in 2019 onshore exploration blocks, has increased its production and reserves in recent years and today produces around 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the West African country.

The sale process, which is run by investment bank Citi, is expected to be launched in the coming weeks and could raise over $1 billion, according to two sources close to the process.

Carlyle and Assala declined to comment. Citi declined to comment.

Carlyle was one of several private equity funds that acquired oil and gas assets around the world in the 2010s from companies such as Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil that were looking to shed ageing oilfields and refineries.

Soaring oil and gas prices over the past year offer a favourable backdrop for energy companies to sell assets, although the long-term outlook for fossil fuel prices remains uncertain as economies shift to low-carbon energy.

Carlyle's other investments include North Sea-focused Neptune Energy and European refiner Varo Energy.

Reporting by Ron Bousso Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Ron has covered since 2014 the world’s top oil and gas companies, focusing on their efforts to shift into renewables and low carbon energy and the sector's turmoil during the COVID-19 pandemic and following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He has been named Reporter of the Year in 2014 and 2021 by Reuters. Before Reuters, Ron reported on equity markets in New York in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis after covering conflict and diplomacy in the Middle East for AFP out of Israel.