11 Dec 2012

Acquisition of major oil exploration portfolio in Norway; Planned disposal of UK and Dutch gas assets

Tullow Oil plc (“Tullow”) announces today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Spring Energy Norway AS (“Spring”), a Norwegian exploration company, for a purchase price of $372.3 million which will be adjusted for working capital. The purchase has an effective date of 1 September 2012. Tullow is also announcing today that it intends to begin a process to dispose of its exploration, development and production assets in the UK and Dutch Southern North Sea (“SNS”) gas basin. These two transactions follow Tullow's strategy of active portfolio management and monetisation of non-core assets and will enhance the Group’s considerable oil exploration portfolio.

A conference call hosted by Tullow Executives will be held at 0800hrs UK time today. Details can be found at the bottom of this release.

Acquisition of Spring Energy

Spring is a Norwegian oil exploration company which holds 28 offshore licences across Norway’s continental shelf in North, Norwegian and Barents Seas covering just over 18,000 sq km. Spring is a very successful oil explorer having made six commercial discoveries out of 12 wells drilled since 2008. In 2013-14, Spring currently has plans to drill up to 16 exploration wells of which three are operated. Tullow’s assessment of Spring’s exploration portfolio is that it contains in excess of 230 mmboe of risked prospective resources and has existing reserves and resources of 24 mmboe. The vendors of Spring are HitecVision, a private equity company (87.6%) and other shareholders (12.4%) including some current Spring staff.

Spring has an experienced team of 37 people based in Oslo who have a successful track record of finding and monetising Norwegian oil discoveries. The Spring team will form the basis of Tullow Norge AS. Spring’s Chief Executive, Roar Tessem, becomes Managing Director of Tullow Norge and will be responsible for managing Tullow’s assets offshore Norway and Greenland.

Following Tullow’s pre-qualification as an Operator on the Norwegian Continental Shelf earlier this year, the acquisition of Spring enables us to rapidly build a strong platform for future growth in Norway. In common with Tullow, Spring recently applied for licences in Norway’s 22nd licence round.

In addition to the purchase price, a bonus payment has also been agreed with the vendors in the event of commercial exploration success. This payment is limited to four specific prospects and will be paid on a sliding scale up to a maximum of $150 million per prospect and $300 million in aggregate. This acquisition remains subject to approval from the Norwegian Ministries of Energy and Finance.

Disposal of UK and Dutch SNS gas assets

Tullow is also announcing today that it intends to begin a process to divest its exploration, development and production assets in the UK and Dutch Southern North Sea. These gas assets currently produce approximately 18,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. It is hoped that this process will be completed by the end of 2013.

The Southern North Sea business has been highly successful for Tullow and a key contributor to the Group’s growth over the past decade. However, following exploration and development success in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, these assets are now non-core to the Group and no longer fit within Tullow’s light oil focused portfolio.  

Jeffries International Ltd have been appointed to manage the sale of these assets.

Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive of Tullow Oil plc, commented today,  

“Active portfolio management is a key part of Tullow’s exploration-led strategy. These transactions are part of an ongoing process of carefully refocusing our business and ensuring efficient allocation of capital by monetising non-core assets and re-investing the proceeds in high potential oil exploration. Our Southern North Sea gas assets are therefore no longer core to Tullow’s business which has a clear focus on light oil in Africa and the Atlantic Margins. The acquisition of Spring adds a material portfolio of oil exploration assets and high quality people that will provide a superb foundation for building our portfolio and expertise in the highly prospective North Atlantic.”

Conference call with Tullow Executives - 0800hrs UK time

To access the call please use telephone numbers / code below. A replay facility will be available from approximately noon on 11 December 2012 until 17 December 2012. The telephone numbers and access codes are:


Live event

Replay facility available from 1200hrs 11 December

UK Participants

+44 (0)20 7136 2055

UK Participants

+44 (0)20 7111 1244

Irish Participants

+353 (0)1 4860920

Irish Participants

+353 (0)1 4860902

Confirmation Code


Replay Passcode



Note to Editors

Spring Energy licence list and 2013 / 14 drilling programme

a. Spring licence list

North Sea
Licence Working Interest Operator
PL055 2.5% Statoil
PL185 2.5% Statoil
PL 405 / 405 B 15% Centrica
PL 406 20% Premier
PL 407 20% BG
PL 495 40% Lundin
PL 507 20% Wintershall
PL 509 30% Wintershall
PL 542 40% Det Norske
PL 550 90% Spring Energy
PL 551 80% Spring Energy
PL 577 30% Wintershall
PL 619 20% Total
PL 626 30% Det Norske
PL 636 20% GDF Suez
Norwegian Sea
PL 511 10% Wintershall
PL 519 20% Lundin
PL 583 30% Spring Energy
PL 591 60% Spring Energy
PL 596 15% ExxonMobil
PL 639 30% Spring Energy
PL 642 20% Repsol
PL 651 35% E. ON Ruhrgas
Barents Sea
PL 438 17.5% Lundin
PL 490 30% Lundin
PL 537 20% OMV
PL 610 25% GDF Suez
PL 659 10% Det Norske


Tullow Oil

Tullow is a leading independent oil & gas, exploration and production group, quoted on the London, Irish and Ghanaian (symbol: TLW) stock exchanges and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. The Group has interests in over 100 exploration and production licences across 24 countries and focuses on four core areas: Africa, Europe, South Asia and South America.

For further information please refer to our website at www.tullowoil.com

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