Heirs Holdings,Invests $1.1 billion In OML17, Takes Over From Shell, Total And ENI, The Original Operators

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 By Stephen Ubanna

Until December 31, 2020, nobody knows what  Tony Elumelu, founder and Chairman, Heirs Holding, who incidentally is also the Chairman, United Bank of Africa, UBA plc, a Pan African Bank,  and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, and  other Board members of the Holdings  Company  which had billions of dollars or trillions of naira investment  in the nation’s oil and gas, power, real estate , agribusiness and financial services sectors of the economy in Nigeria and the African Continent in general have in store for the new year.

Unknown to many, Elumelu,Nigerian foremost investor, who, alongside other  board members  had turned  Heirs Holdings  into one   of  the leading African  strategic investor, in partnership  which its businesses  spans the power, oil and gas, financial services, hospitality, real estate and Health care sectors,  is currently operating in  23 countries of the world, mostly in the African Continent had a big surprise for Nigerians, to expand its investment portfolio in the oil and gas sector of the economy . It is on records that Transcorp, own more than50% of Heirs GHoldings, described as one of its biggest investments.  

What is surprising  people was that in spite of the Asian country of China emerged Coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, which had adversely affected the global economy, forcing many indigenous Companies to go under,   Heirs Holdings  , on Thursday, January 15, 2021, acquired  a 45% stake, in the Nigerian oil Mining, license, , OML 17 and other related assets. The OML17, was said to have been acquired through, TNOG Oil and Gas Limited ,  which many believe is closely related to Heirs Holdings and Transcorp.

  Informed sources told The Value News that the Company had  acquired the 45% participating interest in the OML 17, which was initially  operated  by the British, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Total E&P, Nigeria limited, France, and ENI, an Italian Oil  Prospecting   Company, operating within the Niger Delta region to sustain the production level.

  Based on  the agreement  that was said to have been signed  by the parties , Heirs Holdings , which  had acquired the  45% participating interest in the OML17,   which had made it the majority shareholder, was said to have conferred on it  the ‘’sole operatorship status of the asset’’ .  The multi-million dollar, oil and gas deal, was said to have also  involved  Schlumber, which was appointed  the technical partners and the training  arm of shell as offtaker’’.

Energy experts told The Value News Magazine that  the OML17, transaction is one of the largest  oil and gas  financings  in Africa in more than a decade. The Magazine learnt that it has a financing component of $1.1 billion, provided by a Consortium  of global  and regional banks and investors.

The energy  expert may have described the  OML17, as one of the biggest oil and gas transaction in the African Continent in more than a decade because ‘’it has a current production  capacity of  27,000 bpd and two percent reserves  of 1.2 billion barrels per day. And  additional   one  billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further  exploration  potential.

There are indications   that Heirs Holdings Management and Board members  may have been  advised  by Standard Chartered plc, plc,  as the global  Coordinator and United Capital  plc  with a syndicate of financial lending Institutions , including, Afrexim Bank, ABSA, Africa Finance Corporation, Union Bank of Nigeria,  Hybrid Capital and Global asset management firm, Amudi to acquire OML17, when it was put for sale  because of the huge financial benefits on the long run.

Elumelu Heirs Holdings Acquires 45% Stake In OML17

Elumelu, who chairs, Heirs Holdings, and Companies , including UBA plc,   had given kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari,  the officials of SPDC,,Total, ENI,  Temipre-Slver, a former governor of the oil rich Bayelsa state and now minister of state, ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC, for the professionalism  process of the conduct of the deal and the confidence reposed on Heirs Holdings, an indigenous, oil and gas Company to be the sole oprator of OML, 17.

The multi- million dollar investment, according  Elumelu,  ‘’ demonstrates   a further advance  in the execution of Heirs holdings’  integrated  energy strategy and the group’ Commitment, through long term investments   to create  economic  prosperity  and social wealth in the African Continent’’.

Note that,  Tenoil, another related oil and gas Company to  Heirs Holdings  and  Transcorp  currently operates  Oil Prospecting  Lcense, OPL 2008, under a production sharing Contract  deal   with the state owned oil Conglomerate, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC The . Heirs Holdings oil Company subsidiary, a source disclosed   also owns Ata  Marginal field, which the source further disclosed would  commence  production  in the second quarter of 2021,  with an initial production  of 3,500bpd.

  It  is instructive to note that Transcorp, which has shares in Heirs Holdings also   operates  OPL 281,  under a production sharing Contact  with NNPC as well. Besides  its investments in the oil and gas sector of the nation’s economy, the Company may have taken advantage of the investment opportunities open to invest in the nation’s power sector to do so.

The Magazine findings shows that at present,  it is one of the largest  Power producers  in the country with installed  capacity of 2MW, through partnership with Transcorp Power  plant. The acquisitions of the $300 million Power  plc, in Oil Rivers sate , in November, 2020, by the Company speaks volume. The Elumelu, who Chairs Transnational  Corporation may not  have not  limited its electricity supplies to Nigeria, alone, as it has  extended its operations far  beyond the nation’s borders. Investigation by The Magazine shows that it currently supplies  electricity to the West African country of Republic of Benin  as part of its programme  on ‘’promoting  regional integration and delivering robust power supply to catalyse development in Africa’’.

Given an insider information why Heirs Holdings and Transcorp are expanding  its  operations when many Companies  are going under because of the harsh economic environment and the Pandemic, in the African Continenent,  Elumelu, had  attributed it to  a clear –cut vision of the  promoters. ‘’We have a very  clear vision  , creating Africa’s first integrated  energy multi-national , a global quality business, uniquely focused on Africa and Africa  energy needs’’.

A elated Elumelu, described  as one  of Africa’s formost Philanthropists, had said that’’ the acquisition of such  a ‘’high quality asset, with significant  potential  for further growth is a bold Statement  of their Confidence in Nigeria, the Nigerian oil and gas sector  and a tribute to the resourceful  Management team that are assembled ‘’.

He noted  that as an indigene of Delta state, in the oil rich Niger Delta region, ‘’ I  understand well our responsibilities that come with stewardship of the asset, our engagement with the Communities and the strategic importance of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria’’.

The Founder of the $100 million, Tony Elumelu, Foundation,  funded by Heirs Holdings  and it’s  advocacy and research initiatives, was said to have empowered  thousands of African Entrepreneurs , across the 54 countries , in the African Continent, which had gone a long way in eradicating   poverty  and creating job opportunities  in these countries.

  Elumelu, who could not hide his feelings had said , ‘’ we see  significant  benefits  in integrating  our production , with our ability  to power Nigeria, through Transcorp, and deliver value across the energy value chain’’.  This should encourage the government to provide the enabling environment   for more companies  like Heirs Holdings and Transnational Corporation  to invest in the economy.        

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