Australia's Carnarvon Energy Seeks Bids for Company or Asset Sale

© bomboman / Adobe Stock
© bomboman / Adobe Stock

Australian oil and gas explorer Carnarvon Energy is seeking a buyer for the company or its assets, including its share in the Dorado oil field co-owned with local producer Santos, a document prepared by adviser JPMorgan showed.

The company's strategic review, dubbed "Project Stargazer," will also consider mergers and other combinations, according to the document being distributed to potential buyers seen by Reuters.

Carnarvon CEO Philip Huizenga said the company was exploring options with JPMorgan to return value to shareholders even as it continued to pursue the development of Dorado and push toward a final investment decision by the end of the year. JPMorgan declined to comment.

The document singled out Carnarvon's 10% stake in the Dorado oil field in shallow waters offshore from Western Australia, which has 162 million barrels of gross contingent resources. Santos is the operator and owns 80%, while Taiwanese state-owned energy company CPC owns the remaining 10% of the field.

Santos in 2021 had estimated a capital cost of $2 billion to develop Dorado. Santos hired bankers that year to shop part of its stake, but no sale occurred.

Huizenga will pitch the potential Carnarvon deal on Monday to an audience of 80 to 100 oil and gas executives on the sidelines of an industry conference in Perth, according to a person briefed on the talks but not authorised to speak publicly.

The company hopes to close a deal by the end of the year to coincide with Santos' investment decision for Dorado, the person added.

Santos said on Wednesday it would sack 200 workers because new project approvals were taking longer than expected and some of its older assets were closing.


(Reuters - Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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