May 20, 2020 / 6:13 AM / 15 days ago

HitecVision renegotiates purchase of Total's North Sea assets, seeks more

LONDON (Reuters) - Private-equity group HitecVision’s NEO business has renegotiated its deal to buy British North Sea oilfields from Total (TOTF.PA), with Omani partner Petrogas dropping out and the French seller providing financial help, Hitec said on Wednesday.

The transaction is the second large oil and gas deal to be revised in the wake of this year’s oil price slump LCOc1 after BP (BP.L) delayed some payments from, and gave vendor financing to, Hilcorp last month.

Typically vendor financing means financial provisions such as marketing, hedging and working capital arrangements as well as junior debt. Wednesday’s deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

“The structure of the consideration and phasing of payments has been modified, including vendor financing,” HitecVision, which has $6 billion under management, said in a statement.

“NEO, HitecVision and Total have renegotiated the financial terms of the deal to respond to the current environment. Previous deal partner Petrogas is no longer part of the transaction,” it added, without giving the new price.

The initial price for the sale of the assets, which produce around 23,000 barrels per day, was $635 million. Under the new deal, Total will get better terms if oil prices recover sharply.

NEO has also secured a $2 billion underwritten facility from banks BNP Paribas, DNB and ING, to refinance existing assets, cover decommissioning liabilities and increase its firepower for new acquisitions.

HitecVision partnered in 2018 with Eni (ENI.MI) to build Var Energi, now one of Norway’s largest producers at around 300,000 barrel of oil equivalent per day (boed). It has said it wants NEO to increase its output to around 100,000 boed.

“The Major Oil companies are either exiting European Offshore ... or reorganizing their assets,” HitecVision Senior Partner John Knight told Reuters.

“We have the debt and equity finance to continue being the preferred partner as this trend continues.”

HitecVision has so far focused on paying dividends rather than listing its oil units on stock exchanges.

The Total assets include a stake in the CNOOC (0883.HK) operated Golden Eagle field.

(This story corrects second paragraph to clarify BP to receive delayed payments and gave vendor financing to Hilcorp)

Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Mark Potter

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