Former BP bosses Lord Browne and Tony Hayward unite for exploration project off Angola
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Friday 04 April 2014
Two former BP chief executives were reunited yesterday as Lord Browne and Tony Hayward – once referred to as one of Browne's "turtles" – struck a $281m (£170m) deal to explore for oil off the shores of Angola.
Lord Browne's White Rose Energy Ventures, staffed by a number of former BP executives, and Genel, Tony Hayward's Nat Rothschild-backed oil company, have bought stakes in two exploration areas covering 14,000 square kilometres at depths of up to 2,500 metres.
It is the first major deal for White Rose since it was formed by Lord Browne through his Riverstone private equity investment group in 2011 and the first time the two men have worked together since Lord Browne's departure.
While serving under the so-called Sun King Lord Browne at BP, Mr Hayward was one of the chief executive's acolytes known as "Browne's Turtles". Lord Browne moved to head up Riverstone's UK office soon after his departure, while Mr Hayward became chief executive, only to be hit by the Gulf of Mexico disaster, which cost him his job.
Mr Hayward, Mr Rothschild and the banker Julian Metherell set up an investment shell to buy oil assets, going on to buy Genel, a Turkish explorer with licences in Kurdistan.
White Rose's team, led by former BP executives Jim Bradley, Tony Renton and Rod McLean, found the deal to buy exploration stakes from a Chinese-Angolan state joint venture and Statoil. Lord Browne phoned Mr Hayward and the talks led to the transaction.
Genel, best known for its oil assets in Kurdistan, has been diversifying outside of Iraq for some time amid an ongoing political uncertainty.
Rod McLean, commercial director of White Rose, said: "We knew Genel were building up a business in Africa and thought they might have an interest in Angola."
Angola has become a major oil producer in the past decade as explorers have found huge reserves off its coast in the area that, 125 million years ago, was joined to South America in the supercontinent known as Pangea. When the continents drifted apart, they created vast rift valleys full of vegetation which turned into rich oil resources. These are now off the coast of Brazil at one end of the Atlantic and Angola.
After a false start in Equatorial Guinea using outside consultant technicians, White Rose hired engineers from BG, the former exploration arm of British Gas, who had been successful finding oil off Brazil to examine conditions off Africa. They decided the Angolan blocks were the most hopeful.
- 1 Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Jozef Wesołowski: Former Catholic archbishop found dead ahead of child sexual abuse trial
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...