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Total sells off assets in Gabon for $350 million

French major says it's capitalizing on current market conditions by capturing value.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Total sells off assets in Gabon for $350 million
French energy company Total sells off some of its maturing assets in Gabon, a member of OPEC, for $350 million. Pictured, a Total fuel station in the West African country of Liberia. Photo by Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- French energy major Total said Monday it was unloading some of its mature assets in emerging West Africa to take advantage of market conditions.

Brent crude oil prices are holding steady in the mid-$50 range as markets swing toward balance following an agreement by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to curb output.

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Crude oil prices are moving in wide swings in day-to-day trading, but are recovered from last year's lows. Arnaud Breuillac, president of exploration and production for Total, said the French company remained focused on its strategic assets in Gabon, but was capitalizing on improved market conditions elsewhere in the country with a $350 million sale to Anglo-French company Perenco.

"In a context of volatile Brent prices where reducing the breakeven of our operations is a top priority, this agreement demonstrates our ability to capture value through the disposal of mature assets," he said in a statement.

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The disposal includes half of the 10 fields in which Total has an interest, as well as Gabonese pipeline networks. Total said the divestment represented about 13,000 barrels of oil per day.

Perenco already has a presence in Gabon through terminals that open the West African country to the Asian market for crude oil.

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Gabon is an OPEC member and party to the agreement for managed declines. Production in January was 199,000 bpd, down 10,000 bpd from December. Member state compliance with the deal so far is around 86 percent.

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For Total, its fourth quarter adjusted net income was up 16 percent year-on-year as markets improve, though full-year income was down 21 percent from 2015.

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