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Sahara eyes more oil assets, revives IPO plan

Sahara eyes more oil assets, revives IPO plan

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’Femi Asu with agency report

Sahara Group Limited, a Nigerian energy conglomerate, said it had revived plans for a share sale as it looks to increase oil production fourfold to 100,000 barrels per day.

In 2015, Sahara was pursuing a dual listing on the London and Lagos stock exchanges in an effort to raise more than $1bn to buy oil and gas assets and develop fields.

But the fall of global crude prices, which started in mid-2014, forced the Lagos-based firm to backtrack on the proposed initial public offering.

 “The IPO is back on the table,” the Sahara’s Executive Director and Co-founder, Tonye Cole, was quoted by Bloomberg to have said in an interview in Kigali, Rwanda.

“After we made the announcement then, the entire market crashed; oil prices went down, and so we put the plans on hold,” he added.

Cole didn’t provide a timeframe or say how much he wanted to raise. In 2015, he said he would look to sell as much as 25 per cent of Sahara for $600m.

Sahara and other Nigerian firms such as Aiteo Eastern E&P Limited, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc and Shoreline Group pump about 20 per cent of the country’s total daily production of two million barrels. They’ve taken advantage of so-called indigenisation laws that are meant to boost domestic private companies’ presence in the sector by buying assets from the likes of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total and Eni.

Sahara planned to buy more oil fields to reach its 100,000bpd-target within four years, Cole said.

“The option of buying more gas and oil blocs is looking brighter now, more assets have started coming on the market,” he added.

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