Capital Markets

National Oil Sh108 billion stake sale faces longer delay

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Andrew Kamau PS, Ministry of Petroleum & Mining speaks during Project Oil Kenya media breakfast briefing session at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi on February 19, 2019. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • In November 2017, the Energy ministry disclosed that it was seeking to list its oil firm on the Nairobi and London stock exchanges by early 2019 through an initial public offering (IPO).
  • Noc had already advertised for a consultant to guide the deal.
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta also said in 2018 that the company would dual list on both bourses by 2019.
  • This week, the Petroleum ministry Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said "the process is ongoing," without divulging further details.

Kenya's plans to raise $1 billion (Sh108 billion) through the sale of a stake in the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) face longer delay, with the government remaining non-committal on the expected conclusion date of the deal whose proceeds are meant to acquire a stake in the Turkana oil blocks.

In November 2017, the Energy ministry disclosed that it was seeking to list its oil firm on the Nairobi and London stock exchanges by early 2019 through an initial public offering (IPO). Noc had already advertised for a consultant to guide the deal.

President Uhuru Kenyatta also said in 2018 that the company would dual list on both bourses by 2019.

This week, the Petroleum ministry Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said "the process is ongoing," without divulging further details.

The dual-listing would be facilitated by a May 2017 memorandum of understanding between LSE Group and NSE, enabling cross-listing of Kenyan shares and bonds in London.

The contract signed for the concession of the two blocks in the Lokichar Basin—the 4,719 square kilometre 13T and 6,172 square km 10BB—contained a clause allowing the government to exercise a back-in right, which essentially means buying back a percentage of the ownership before production kicks in.

These rights allow Kenyans to own part of the oil producing blocks once they are certified to hold reserves, protecting taxpayers from the highly risky initial exploration stage.

Mr Kamau said earlier that the government held the right to buy back 15 percent stake in one block and 20 percent in the other, with the proceeds of the Noc IPO enough to complete these purchases.

The uncertainty over the listing comes at a time several hurdles have delayed Kenya's dream to join the league of oil producing countries. Kenya had projected to start commercial oil production in 2022.

Tullow Oil, which operates the project, announced recently it plans to sell a significant chunk of its 50 percent stake in the blocks, having hit financial hurdles of its own.

Construction of the oil pipeline needed to evacuate the oil for export is also yet to start.