Bowleven cashes in its Gabon stake for £24m

OIL explorer Bowleven yesterday sold its subsidiary in Gabon to French peer Perenco for $38.6 million (£24.1m), freeing up cash for the Edinburgh-based firm to develop its other African fields.

News of the deal comes just days after Perenco paid BP £250m to buy its gas assets in the southern North Sea.

Bowleven chief executive Kevin Hart – who joined the firm in 2006 after serving as finance director at fellow Edinburgh-based explorer Cairn Energy – said: “The disposal enables Bowleven to concentrate its resources on core areas of the business where we believe we can create maximum value for shareholders.

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“The cash generated from this sale provides Bowleven with further financial flexibility to pursue the multiple opportunities identified on our Cameroon acreage.”

Bowleven’s shares jumped earlier this week after it tripled its estimate for the volume of oil it thinks is present in its Sapele exploration field off the coast of Cameroon.

Hart said the firm would need to drill more wells in the area to assess how much of the oil could actually be extracted.

He added that Bowleven is in talks with a consortium of banks to fund the estimated $700m (£440m) cost of developing its Etinde field. The firm is working on an agreement to supply gas from Etinde to a fertiliser plant.