Heritage Oil Says Eni’s Offer for Ugandan Fields Is ‘Excellent’

Heritage Oil Plc (HOIL) judges a $1.5 billion bid from Italy’s Eni SpA (ENI) for its stakes in Ugandan oilfields to be an “excellent” offer, Chief Executive Officer Tony Buckingham said.

Eni’s offer is 33 percent more than the $1.1 billion valuation put on the contingent resources by RPS Energy Ltd., an independent consultant, Heritage said in a statement released late yesterday. The stakes in the fields hold about 543 million barrels of oil equivalent net to Heritage.

“The value Heritage has achieved for the sale of its Ugandan interest is excellent, creating significant value, and takes into account future drilling success,” Buckingham said.

Eni is seeking to purchase 50 percent of Blocks 1 and 3A in Uganda’s Lake Albert, Heritage said Nov. 23. Tullow Oil Plc (TLW), which holds the remaining share, is examining plans to pre-empt the sale and bring a partner to help develop the combined assets, Brian Glover, its manager for Uganda, said in a phone interview today.

Tullow’s intervention may thwart Eni’s efforts to build up its reserves and make up for output cuts from disruptions in Nigeria. Around 1.5 billion barrels are still to be discovered in the Lake Albert Rift Basin, according to Tullow estimates. Uganda’s government would have to approve any transaction.

Some analysts disagreed with the independent evaluation.

“Our model implies a valuation of $1.5 billion” for contingent resources, Phil Corbett, a London-based analyst at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, said in an e-mailed report.

The bank’s valuation of the prospective resources on Block 1, worth about $1.2 billion, is “considerably higher” than RPS’s combined estimate of Block 1 and 3A prospective resources, which is worth about $485 million, according to Corbett.

Heritage plans to hold a meeting for shareholders on Jan. 25 in Jersey, the U.K. Channel Islands. Tullow has a Jan. 17 deadline to pre-empt the sale to Eni, according to Heritage.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Guy Collins at guycollins@bloomberg.net

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