Etame Marin/Sasol: Kariya Energy Hopes To Knock Out Vaalco From Nigerian Tender
The recently created Houston firm Kariya Energy has set its sights on Gabon and Nigeria. It just hired a consulting firm with very strong connections in Africa.
Newcomer Kariya Energy, created just a few weeks ago by ex-Shell engineer Gerd Nji, is pulling out all the stops in Africa. The firm has discretely begun negotiating with Sasol to take over its assets in Gabon.
Industry sources indicate, the South African giant is looking to sell its 40% stake in the DE-8 exploration permit and its 27.5% stake in Etame Marin.
However, Etame’s American operator, Vaalco Energy, may compromise Kariya’s plans, as it has pre-emptive rights to Sasol’s shares.
Karyia Energy is backed by several oil industry financiers in Calgary (Canada), including the head of KO Capital Advisors Kevin Overstrom. He previously spent over 15 years working for Canadian investment fund GMP FirstEnergy, Vaalco’s broker and financial advisor until late 2019. Nji’s tight connections to the oil industries in Houston and Calgary have allowed his young company to receive a great deal of financial support: from consultant Jason Konzuk and Patrick Bryden (Scotia Capital) and from several American firms, including Mountain Capital Management and E&P independent Revolution Resources.
Support from NJ Ayuk
Kariya is also gaining a foothold in Nigeria by investing in several local firms interested in the tender call for 52 marginal fields available only to Nigerian juniors.
These fields were once owned by majors: 22 belonged to SPDC (a subsidiary of Shell), twelve to Chevron, two to NAOC (a subsidiary of ENI), eleven to Mobil and five to Total.
As a move to establish itself in the African market, Kariya has also just contracted a very well-known law firm. The Centurion Law Group, run by NJ Ayuk (also president of the African Energy Chamber (AEC)) is a major oil lobbyist on the continent. Kariya also hired Washington firm Greenberg Traurig, a long-time advisor on the oil industry in Equatorial Guinea. Top consulting firms such as EY, McKinsey, and Deloitte were also in line to work for Kariya.