Total’s acquisition of Marathon’s Waha concession approved by Libya

By Sami Zaptia.

Libya has approved Total’s acquisition of Marathon’s Waha concession.

London, 11 December 2019:

Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) has confirmed Libya’s approval of Total’s acquisition of Marathon Oil’s 16.33 percent in the Waha Oil concession.

Total had announced the purchase of Marathon’s stake in March lasy year for a price of US$ 450 million, however, the NOC had subsequently refused to approve the sale, as was within its technical power to do so.

The NOC yesterday announced that after review, negotiations, and government approval it had approved Total’s participation in the Waha concessions

It said the deal included:

  • Total to invest 650 million USD to develop the Waha concessions, increasing production by 180,000 barrels per day
  • NOC to obtain 150 million USD to support social responsibility and sustainable development programmes in the areas adjacent to oil operations

NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla yesterday said: “When Total announced the purchase of MOLL’s stake in the Waha concessions through the acquisition of MOLL for a price of 450 million USD, NOC withheld its approval until it had the opportunity to scrutinize the deal in all its legal, contractual, financial, and investment aspects. In addition, NOC considered the feasibility of NOC or other Libyan entities acquiring that stake, versus what Total could bring to the concessions on a technical level and to the regions adjacent to them through social development. NOC also sought the government approvals necessary to complete the deal.”

He added, “After successful negotiations with Total I am pleased to report that NOC approves this deal for two main reasons.

Firstly, Total has committed to invest 650 million USD to the development of the Waha concessions and to ramp up production through two main projects, North Gialo and NC 98. This will bring a 180,000 barrels per day increase in production. As a technical partner, Total will bring the right technology and experience to be able to deliver these gains. NOC therefore believes that Total is better placed to acquire MOLL’s stake in the Waha concessions than any other option.

The review process has shown that while the option of acquiring MOLL’s stake by the Libyan state would apparently increase total revenues for Libya, it would also entail significant financial obligations to fund operations, development implementation and increased production. The imperative to make funds available in the specified time would impact the net profit and the payback period, as well as conflicting with other government priorities in spending and other investment opportunities available to NOC.

No local partner has the technical or financial means to carry out the development of the concessions and to increase production. The investment is not only limited to the stake purchase value, but also to providing operational and developmental funding by the buyer to implement the plans in this regard.

Secondly, we have secured a 150 million USD signature bonus to be allocated for corporate social responsibility, as we believe in the importance of implementing concrete projects. NOC will directly supervise the implementation of these projects in line with its community support criteria and values. Total has demonstrated good faith and real commitment by agreeing to this request. I will have further announcements on this in due course as we develop our plans for these programmes and projects”.

Sanalla also explained that the funds for corporate social responsibility and sustainable development programmes and projects will be paid by Total as non-refundable expenses in phases relating to the development of the concessions. 70 million USD will be paid at the outset, 30 million USD after 21 days of continuous production in the North Gialo “6 J Area” project, another 30 million USD after 21 days of continuous production in the NC98 project and up to a further 20 million USD will be paid over the next four years. Further details will follow after the signing of a detailed agreement within three months.

The NOC (59.18%), Total (16.33%), ConocoPhillips (16.33%) and Hess (8.16%) jointly own the Waha Concessions. The Waha Oil Company, a 100% NOC owned entity, operates the asset.


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