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US firm Hess has quit Algeria with the sale of its 49% stake in the 20,000 b/d SonaHess joint venture (state-owned Sonatrach 51%) its only asset in the country.
Speaking on the firm’s 27 January Q4 conference call CEO and Chairman John Hess referred to “the recent sale of our assets in Algeria in December.”
Company CFO John P Rielly adds that “the actual transaction did close right before year-end. However, we have not received the cash yet. That will be coming in the first quarter. The contract though is confidential.”
As an indication of the beating that the valuation of assets in the North African country has taken – both because of the collapse in oil prices, but also due to the massive bureaucratic delays that ramp up the cost of doing business in Algeria – Mr Rielly says that the expected payment “is not a significant amount.” Sonatrach itself is the most likely purchaser: it has spared the government’s blushes by picking up unwanted project shares when the likes of BG (Hassi Ba Hammou), Statoil (Hassi Mouina) and Total (Ahnet – MEES, 20 February 2015) have all walked away from seemingly prospective projects.
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