Shell to sell Gabon onshore fields for nearly $600 million

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell onshore oil and gas fields in Gabon, where it has operated for more than five decades, for $587 million.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major said Friday it will sell five oil and gas fields it operates in the central African country, and its shares in four other nonoperated fields. The company produced about 41,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in those fields last year.

“The decision to divest was not taken lightly, but it is consistent with Shell’s strategy to concentrate our upstream footprint where we can be most competitive,” Andy Brown, Shell’s upstream director, said in a written statement. Shell has said plans to divest $30 billion in assets to make room for BG Group, the British gas producer it acquired last year.

The deal, expected to close this summer, also includes energy infrastructure related to an onshore pipeline system and an export terminal in the region.

The buyer, private equity-backed Assala Energy Holdings, would assume $285 million in debt and, depending on energy prices and the productivity of the fields, may pay Shell as much as $150 million in more payments.

Assala Energy Holdings is owned by private equity firm The Carlyle Group. About 430 Shell workers will transfer to Assala as part of the transaction.