August's top stories: Essar Oil's $12.9bn sale, Indian Oil’s $8.1bn refinery expansion plan

Rosneft-led consortium acquired Essar Oil for $12.9bn, Indian Oil made plans to invest around Rs520bn ($8.1bn) to expand the Paradip refinery in the Indian state of Odisha. wraps up the key headlines from August.

Rosneft-led consortium acquired Essar Oil for $12.9bn

A consortium led by Russian oil and gas company Rosneft, along with Trafigura and UCP Investment Group, acquired Indian refiner Essar Oil (EOL) in a deal valued at $12.9bn.

Under the deal, Rosneft, through its subsidiary Petrol Complex, will receive a 49.13% stake in EOL, while the Trafigura-UCP consortium will acquire another 49.13% interest via Kesani Enterprises.

Together, the companies will control 98.26% of EOL, with the remaining 1.74% stake held by retail shareholders.

Indian Oil planned to invest approximately $8.1bn in Odisha’s Paradip refinery

State-owned Indian Oil (IOC) planned to invest around Rs520bn ($8.1bn) to expand the Paradip refinery and establish a petrochemical complex in the Indian state of Odisha, according to the Press Trust of India.

The development comes after the Odisha Government committed to restoring part of the tax incentives.

A previously announced incentive package announced by the government gave IOC the right to defer payment of sales tax by 11 years on Paradip refinery products sold in the state.

New research claimed fracking in UK is not commercially viable

New research conducted at Heriot-Watt University discovered that the UK’s geology is not suitable and economically unviable for fracking.

The research, conducted under the leadership of Heriot-Watt University chief scientist professor John Underhill, remarked that the UK's fracking technique is 55 million years too late.

It is claimed that seismic activity around 55 million years ago caused areas containing shale reserves to be highly deformed by folds and faults, resulting in the reduction of chances of commercially extracting oil and gas.

Turkey's Unit International signed $7bn agreement to explore oil and gas in Iran

Unit International in Turkey signed a $7bn agreement with Russia's state-owned Zarubezhneft and Iran's Ghadir Investment Holding to explore oil and natural gas opportunities in Iran.

Under the agreement, the companies will undertake drilling at three oil fields and one large natural gas field in the country.

It is expected that the three oil fields contain total reserves of around ten billion barrels, while the production capacity is estimated to be about 100,000 barrels per day.

Silver Run merged with US energy companies to form $3.8bn entity

Start-up firm Silver Run Acquisition II (Silver Run II) signed agreements to merge with US-based companies Alta Mesa Holdings and Kingfisher Midstream in order to form a combined company valued at around $3.8bn.

Once the transaction is closed, Silver Run II is expected to be rechristened Alta Mesa Resources.

Alta Mesa is focused on the Stack play in Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin with about 120,000 contiguous net acres and around 4,200 gross identified drilling locations, while Kingfisher is engaged in the gathering, processing, and marketing of hydrocarbons in the Stack play.

Zambia launched first oil survey to diversify economy

Zambia commenced a full tensiometer survey in the Luapula province in order to explore potential oil reserves in the north west of the country.

The survey, conducted by Tullow Oil, is aimed at diversifying the country’s economy and reducing dependence on copper exports.

Zambia president Edgar Chagwa Lungu said: ‘’My government has set a clear agenda to diversify the economy beyond copper and to realise the value of our other natural resources in a way which is transparent, sustainable and delivers positive impact for Zambians.”

Fourchon LNG began federal permit process for $888m facility at Port Fourchon

Energy World’s subsidiary Fourchon LNG commenced the permitting process with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a proposed $888m five million tonnes per annum liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and export facility at Port Fourchon.

Fourchon LNG filed its formal letter to request initiation of the prefiling review process with the FERC. 

Once the pre-filing review process is completed, work related to the construction of the facility is expected to begin.

BHP made plans to sell shale assets in US

BHP Billiton planned to divest its shale assets in the US following its assertion that they are a non-core part of the company’s business.

The move comes after the company was advised by US hedge fund firm Elliott Associates in April this year to incorporate changes in its company structure and demerge its US petroleum assets into a separate entity.

However, at that time, BHP rejected the proposal owing to the fact that the costs of implementing it would outweigh benefits.

British Columbia planned to approach court to stall Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion

The British Columbia (BC) Government made plans to undertake all possible measures to stall the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s C$7.4bn ($5.8bn) Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and increased tanker traffic until the company completes consultation with indigenous people.

In an attempt to protect the interests of the region, the provincial government has come out with elaborate plans, including both a legal recourse and consultation approach to thwart the project.

British Columbia Environment and Climate Change Strategy minister George Heyman said: “Our government made it clear that a seven-fold increase in heavy oil tankers in the Vancouver harbour is not in BC's best interests.”

Quebec prohibited oil and gas exploration on Anticosti Island

The Quebec Government rolled back the oil and gas exploration programme initiated by the previous Parti Quebecois administration on Anticosti Island.

The programme was started in 2014 and directed at evaluating the hydrocarbon potential on the eastern Quebec Island.

Quebec natural resources minister Pierre Arcand told The Canadian Press that the decision will support the island’s bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.