African LNG has been established to play a significant role in the fastest growing segment of the international oil and gas sector – liquefied natural gas ("LNG"). As there is a significant shortage of gas in Europe currently and projected for the future African LNG believes it is well positioned to help satisfy this huge demand gap through the procurement of significant new supply of LNG from West Africa. African LNG aims to become the premier independent LNG company in the Gulf of Guinea. LNG is the fastest growing hydrocarbon segment of the international energy business, and with more than 200 trillion cubic feet of stranded gas reserves in West Africa alone, African LNG believes that a significant opportunity exists for an independent, agile company to develop multiple LNG projects throughout the Gulf of Guinea region. To that end, African LNG is currently in various stages of development on four LNG projects in the region that are designed to provide a stable, long-term supply of gas to European and US markets.
The African LNG management team is led by Theo Oerlemans, who, during a distinguished career at the Royal Dutch Shell Group of companies, served as Chief Executive of the Nigeria LNG project, launching the first two LNG production trains of the largest capital project in Africa. The project has expanded continuously since its launch to become the largest private sector LNG company in the world with annual cash flow of several billion dollars. In addition to heading the Nigerian LNG project, Mr Oerlemans held senior roles on the Sakhalin LNG project in Russia, the Oman LNG project and the Brunei and Malaysia LNG projects, and is considered one of the leading professionals with a demonstrated track record in the global LNG business.
By acquiring an initial strategic 20% stake in African LNG, with the option to acquire the further 80% within one year, Gasol is uniquely positioned to benefit from African LNG's regional Gulf of Guinea LNG strategy, its outstanding management team and strategic focus on one of the most underexploited and prospective gas regions in the world.
To complement its relationship with African LNG, Gasol has also entered into a strategic alliance with Afren (AIM: AFR), an independent pan-African Exploration and Production company focused exclusively on upstream oil and gas opportunities in Africa. Afren was established by Dr Rilwanu Lukman and other professionals with long-standing involvement in the African oil and gas sector. Since listing on AIM in March 2005, Afren has rapidly grown its portfolio to include assets in Nigeria, the Joint Development Zone of Nigeria Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon and Congo.
The complementary nature of the strategic alliance between Gasol and Afren allows each company to optimise its particular strength; Afren on the upstream and Gasol mid to downstream. To the extent Afren has gas assets which it wishes to monetise, it will seek to conclude a transaction with Gasol on a right of first refusal basis. Likewise, to the extent Gasol requires gas resources for one of its gas industrialisation projects, it will seek to procure such gas from Afren on a right of first refusal basis.
Finally, Gasol has announced the strengthening of its board with the appointment of Osman Shahenshah as Non-Executive Director of Gasol. Mr. Shahenshah has a broad base of experience in the African oil and gas sectors, with a particular expertise in LNG. Mr Shahenshah was involved in the first two trains of the Nigeria LNG project, the financing of the Atlantic LNG project based in Trinidad, the establishment of the Angola LNG project, the financing of the first train of the Equatorial Guinea LNG project and the financing of the third train of the Ras Laffan LNG project in Qatar.
Haresh Kanabar, Chief Executive of Gasol commented: "We are extremely pleased with the acquisition of an initial stake in African LNG, the emerging Gulf of Guinea integrated LNG company. The combination of strong and growing demand for LNG in Europe, access to one of the largest underexploited gas regions in the world, cooperation with a world-class management team with unparalleled Gulf of Guinea and LNG experience, a strategic alliance with Afren, a rapidly growing oil company which has strong credentials in the African oil and gas region, and the strengthening of our Board by the addition of Mr. Shahenshah, will contribute to the creation of significant value over the short to medium term."
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