LG and Slaughters finalise £1.2bn Cove Energy takeover

Lawrence Graham (LG) and Slaughter and May have advised on the £1.22bn takeover of Cove Energy by PTTEP Africa Investment after Clifford Chance client Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of the bidding.

Tim Lewis
Tim Lewis

LG advised Cove, an Africa-focused oil and gas group with a valuable interest in an offshore natural gas source. The firm fielded a corporate team led by practice head and partner Geoff Gouriet, with partner John Reed and associates Sam Gray, Lucy Thompson and Amy Pilmer also advising.

Slaughters Hong Kong partner David Watkins advised PTTEP, part of one of Thailand’s largest oil and gas companies, with lead associate Chris McGaffin also advising.

The offer for Cove became wholly unconditional last Friday (17 August).

Cove’s principal asset is an 8.5 per cent participating interest in the Rovuma Offshore Area 1 block off the Mozambique coast.

The Rovuma block is a world-class natural gas discovery which has attracted the close scrutiny of the world’s major oil and gas companies. It is estimated to hold recoverable natural gas resources of 24tr to 50tr cubic feet of natural gas.

Background to this deal:

The formal sale process began in January 2012. PTTEP went up against Royal Dutch Shell, advised by Clifford Chance corporate partner Tim Lewis and senior associate Katy Foster.

Shell offered 195p per share for the young AIM-listed energy company, but decided not to increase its offer price and dropped out of the bidding process (23 February 2012).

Clifford Chance finance partner John Wilkins previously acted for Shell on the sale of its Stanlow refinery in 2011 and its Heide refinery in Germany in 2010 (6 September 2010).

LG’s Gouriet advised Cove on its £110m fundraising in 2010.