Ophir Said to Work With Banks to Seek Equatorial Guinea Partner

U.K. oil and gas explorer Ophir Energy Plc has asked banks to help find a partner for its multi billion-dollar liquefied natural gas development in Equatorial Guinea, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Ophir is seeking to reduce its 80 percent operating stake in Block R in the south-eastern part of the Niger Delta basin, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. It plans to find a partner in six to nine months, two of the people said.

Smaller exploration companies such as Ophir, which focuses on finding oil fields and selling them at a profit, often add partners on large projects that require a lot of investment to operate commercially. The London-based company sold a 20 percent stake in its Tanzanian operations in 2013 for about $1.3 billion to Pavilion Energy Pte, the liquefied natural gas unit of Singapore’s state-owned Temasek Holdings Pte.

Ophir, which has previously said it’s open to selling some of its Equatorial Guinea stake, plans to make a final investment decision on the project by the middle of 2016, and for first gas and production of 67,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day by mid-2019. A representative for Ophir in London declined to comment.

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