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OPEC’s Newest Member Looks To Raise Oil Production

OPEC’s newest member country, Equatorial Guinea, is seeking to lift its crude production after smaller oil companies acquired stakes in offshore oil fields operated by U.S. Hess Corporation, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, told Bloomberg in an interview published on Tuesday.

On Monday, Hess Corporation said that it had entered into an agreement to sell its interests in offshore Equatorial Guinea to Kosmos Energy and Trident Energy for a total consideration of US$650 million, effective January 1, 2017. Hess holds an 85-percent paying interest and is operator of the fields, while Tullow Oil holds a 15-percent paying interest, and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea holds a 5-percent carried interest.

The sale is part of Hess’s strategy to invest in higher-return assets and divest more mature, higher-cost assets, while Kosmos Energy sees the deal as capturing “a material position in proven but under-explored oil basin.”

Kosmos buying Hess’s interest in the Ceiba and Okume oil fields offshore Equatorial Guinea could boost the country’s production in the short to medium term, Obiang Lima told Bloomberg.

“For Equatorial Guinea, for Nigeria, for any producers it’s the same story -- we have been two years reducing costs, drilling very few wells,” the minister added.  

“The price that we’re having right now, we’re coming to the conclusion that we need to be realistic and learn to live with that price,” Obiang Lima told Bloomberg, commenting on the current oil prices.  

In May this year, Equatorial Guinea became a member of OPEC, and apart from being the newest member, it’s also the smallest producing nation part of the cartel. According to OPEC’s secondary sources, Equatorial Guinea’s production was 141,000 bpd in September, up from 133,000 bpd in August. Crude oil production averaged 185,000 bpd in 2015, and 164,000 bpd in 2016.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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