Ashurst takes role on Congolese oil sell-off

Ashurst has advised on the $155m (£77.83m) purchase of two oil assets in the troubled Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The firm advised London-based Burren Energy, an existing client, which purchased a 5.5 per cent stake in the M’Boundi oilfield and a 2 per cent interest in the exploration licence for the surrounding Kouilou area.

The Ashurst team was led by global head of energy Geoffrey Picton-Turbervill. He said: “This acquisition combined M&A with oil and gas work, which included some very difficult pre-emption right issues, so it was right up our street.” DRC held presidential elections in October 2006 after years of civil war. A shaky peace has existed since, enforced by UN peacekeepers.

Picton-Turbervill added: “For the right company operating there, Congo has some very stable resources, but it has obviously experienced some political turbulence.”

The acquisition is contingent upon the successful completion of Eni’s acquisition from Maurel & Prom of certain interests, including the M’Boundi field and the Kouilou exploration licence, which are subject to approval by the Congolese government. If approved, Eni will become the operator of the M’Boundi field and the Kouilou licence. Burren will have a 37 per cent interest in both.

Eni was advised in-house by assistant general counsel for West Africa and the Far East Valentina Ferri.