Even though international oil giant Chevron is yet to finalise its US$50B acquisition of Anadarko, the deal must be watched closely as there are material implications that could follow for Guyana, says former Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud.
During an exclusive interview with the Guyana Standard today, Persaud reminded that, in 2012, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation was granted an exploration licence for the Roraima block offshore Guyana. In October 2013, while conducting geophysical survey on behalf of Anadarko, the research vessel MV Teknik Perdana was ordered out of Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone by the Venezuelan Navy and escorted to the island of Margarita. The Research vessel had at least five US citizens on board.
Following this incident, Anadarko halted operations in Guyana until July 2015. With the acquisition of Anadarko, Persaud that Chevron is assuming the risks that come with the Roraima block.
Persaud said, “Chevron has a lot of stake in Venezuela; it has a 25.2 percent of Petroindependiente, S.A., which operates the LL-652 Field in Lake Maracaibo, and a 30 percent interest in Petropiar, S.A., a non-operated joint venture with PDVSA in Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt. So for me, there is some significance of them being present there and hopefully, it has a positive impact on the illegal and illegitimate claim that is being made by Venezuela on Guyana’s territory. These are things we need to take cognizance of.”
Further to this, the former Minister said that, once the deal is closed, it could be in Guyana’s best interest to have two major US oil companies operating in the offshore basin.
He said, “This is a development which must be closely watched and, if it is concluded and they assume ownership of the Roraima Block, then I am sure it would help advance the development of our oil and gas resources offshore which have been stymied for decades by the lack of investment and companies not taking the risk in light of Venezuela’s aggression and the cost of undertaking drilling which can go above US$180M for one rig.”
Persaud said he hopes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Energy have cued into this matter.
BECOMING AN ‘ULTRAMAJOR’
Senior Analyst at Wood MacKenzie, Roy Martin, said today that the Chevron proposal represents the biggest upstream deal since Shell and BG in 2015. Martin said that once the deal closes, Chevron will join the ranks of the UltraMajors. In fact, it will become the second-largest producing major. Prior to the deal, it was at the fourth position.
Also commenting on the deal was Chevron’s Chairman and CEO Michael Wirth. He said that the transaction builds strength on strength for Chevron.
Wirth said, “The combination of Anadarko’s premier, high-quality assets with our advantaged portfolio strengthens our leading position in the Permian, builds on our deepwater Gulf of Mexico capabilities and will grow our LNG business. It creates attractive growth opportunities in areas that play to Chevron’s operational strengths and underscores our commitment to short-cycle, higher-return investments.”
The CEO added, “This transaction will unlock significant value for shareholders, generating anticipated annual run-rate synergies of approximately $2 billion, and will be accretive to free cash flow and earnings one year after close.”