Financial Times: Statoil eyes potential bid for FCP: “Statoil, the Norwegian energy group, has emerged as a leading contender in the impending auction of First Calgary Petroleums (FCP), a Canadian independent with extensive oil and gas interests in Algeria.”: “Total of France, Royal Dutch/Shell, and Houston-based Anadarko have also expressed preliminary interest in making a bid for FCP, according to people familiar with the matter” (ShellNews.net 6 Dec 04
By James Politi in New York and Doug Cameron in Houston
Published: December 6 2004
Statoil, the Norwegian energy group, has emerged as a leading contender in the impending auction of First Calgary Petroleums (FCP), a Canadian independent with extensive oil and gas interests in Algeria.
State-controlled Statoil has engaged JPMorgan to examine a potential bid for FCP, whose share price has almost doubled this year following a string of successful discoveries, valuing the company at C$2.71bn (US$2.28bn).
Total of France, Royal Dutch/Shell, and Houston-based Anadarko have also expressed preliminary interest in making a bid for FCP, according to people familiar with the matter
FCP has yet to commence production, financing itself through a series of equity offerings.
The company hired Lehman Brothers in October to examine strategic options, and analysts expect it to be sold to an existing operator in Algeria's huge Berkine Basin field.
Richard Anderson, FCP's president and chief executive officer, will this week meet with interested parties in the US after holding talks with European energy groups last week. An auction is expected early next year.
FCP had 7,000bn cu ft in proved, probable and possible gas reserves at December 31 2003, and Mr Anderson has said its exploration programme could boost reserves to 20,000bn cu ft.
Analysts believe larger energy groups are better placed to develop and market the assets, as FCP lacks sales and distribution agreements for all its discoveries.
While the absence of these deals has led some analysts to question FCP's valuation, the addition of 15,000bn to 20,000bn cu ft of reserves is viewed as an attractive target for existing Algerian operators.
Algeria has 9.2bn barrels of proven oil reserves and 160,000bn cu ft of natural gas, ranking it in the global top 10, but years of civil war have left the country relatively undeveloped. Production is now increasing rapidly among the 20 international companies involved in exploration and production, in partnership with Sonatrach, the state energy company. The country already accounts for almost a third of Europe's natural gas imports, transported through two undersea pipelines, with a third under construction.
Statoil is viewed by insiders as a front-runner for FCP as the Norwegian group's new chief executive, Helge Lund, seeks to regain momentum overseas as its domestic assets mature.
Houston-based Anadarko is also seen as a contender.