Fastnet buys firm with Moroccan stake
DUBLIN-BASED Fastnet Oil and Gas has paid $8 million (€6.5m) for a company owned by one of its advisers and shareholders which has a stake in a potential field off the coast of Morocco.
Fastnet Oil and Gas chairman Cathal Friel said the acquisition of Pathfinder Hydrocarbon Ventures Ltd was a potentially “transformational deal” for the company, with Morocco being one of the most promising countries for undiscovered oil and gas.
Pathfinder owns a gross 25 per cent stake in the 6,500km 2 Foum Assaka prospect off Agadir in central Morocco. Half of the licence is owned by the US company Kosmos, which has a major stake in the Jubilee field off the coast of Ghana in west Africa. It was discovered by Kosmos in conjunction with Irish company Tullow Oil in 2007, and is now producing 20,000 barrels of oil a day.
The other quarter of the Foum Assaka prospect is owned by the Moroccan state oil company.
The acquisition has been paid for by $1 million (€812,000) in cash, which will go mostly to Pathfinder’s founder and chief executive Paul Griffiths, and the rest is seven million shares in Fastnet.
Mr Griffiths will be retained by Fastnet as senior vice-present of exploration. He already owns 1.7 million shares in Fastnet and is an adviser to the company.
Fastnet will also have a 12-month option to take a 50 per cent interest in an onshore licence in the Merada gas play owned by Pathfinder’s parent company in northeast Morocco. Substantial amounts of gas have already been found in the area.
Fastnet, which is based in Dublin, raised £10 million (€12.7m) on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange last month to pursue conventional oil and gas opportunities in Africa.
The chief executive is Dr Steve Staley, who is also non-executive directive of Cove Energy which is now the subject of an offer from Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production following a bidding war with Shell.
Fastnet already has two licensing options in the Celtic Sea, the Mizzen Basin and Molly Malone.
Mr Friel said they were excited to be involved with Kosmos, which has a proven record in oil and gas exploration off the coast of Africa.
Mr Friel said: “Africa is the new frontier for oil It was overlooked for decades and now it is sexy and exciting.”