Swedish independent PA Resources is in the process of selling a 70% operator’s stake in its Tunisian offshore assets, including Zarat and Didon to EnQuest, a London-based firm whose focus has been on maximizing output at mature North Sea fields. PA will keep 30%. Although the deal was struck in May 2013, “due to the political situation in the country the transaction is still to be ratified by the Tunisian authorities,” PA says in its first quarter report. Closing the sale requires Tunisian parliamentary approval of an extension to its key offshore Zarat license in Tunisia’s Gulf of Gabes production heartland: “Despite previous assurances from the Tunisian authorities that approval is imminent, it is becoming clear that a favorable decision is not certain in the short term,” PA says.

Zarat renewal, and thus completion of the $249mn sale to EnQuest, is “now not expected before the end of the second quarter,” it adds. “Since the interim [Tunisian] Government was put in place in January 2014, we have been in close dialogue with ministers… In the last couple of weeks we have seen the first indications of any barrier to progress by a negative vote in the Energy Committee, a subcommittee to the Tunisian parliament. PA Resources is not alone in this, and other operators are experiencing frustration in achieving approvals, it says. (CONTINUED - 932 WORDS)