The man behind the successful bid for a control block in New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd (NZOG), Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer has moved into a significant gas venture in Australia.
The Australian Financial Review’s resource writer Angela Macdonald-Smith said Ofer has struck an $A344 million deal to acquire a state in Beach Energy Ltd’s (ASX: BPT) Otway gas project near the south-east coast of Australia.
The Monaco-based Ofer's OG Energy is paying cash for a 40% stake of the producing gas project off the Victorian coast which Macdonald-Smith said expands the company’s presence, which until now has been focused on New Zealand.
The AFR said this shipping and real estate magnate made it clear the intention is to build on OG's presence in Australia and to explore other opportunities with its new partner Beach, whose biggest shareholder is Kerry Stokes's Seven Group Holdings.
“With this acquisition, we have acquired a cornerstone producing asset around which we intend to continue to build the portfolio and grow our presence in Australia and the region,” Ofer said in a joint statement with Beach on Friday.
“We are excited at what the future holds.”
The AFR reported Beach chief executive Matt Kay had widely flagged the intention to sell a stake in the Otway project after it increased ownership to 100% through its $A1.585 billion acquisition of Lattice Energy from Origin Energy at the beginning of this year. The Lattice acquisition included operatorship of the Kupe oil and gas field in NZ’s offshore Taranaki.
The AFR said Beach’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for 2018-19 are now expected to be between $A1.05 B and $1.15 B, down from guidance last month of $1.1 B-$1.2 B.
The Otway venture comprises the Halladale, Speculant, Geographe and Thylacine offshore fields, and the undeveloped Black Watch field and the Enterprise and Artisan exploration prospects, as well as the onshore Otway gas processing plant.