OSLO- Norwegian investment firm Aker could launch its planned initial public offering (IPO) of Aker Energy in late 2019 or in 2020, depending on when Ghana approves the development plan of its Pecan oilfield, the CEO said.
The company, controlled by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, has said it wants to make Aker Energy a leading exploration and production company on Ghana's continental shelf.
"My educated guess is a late 2019 or during the course of next year," Aker Chief Executive Oeyvind Eriksen told Reuters when asked about the IPO plans.
Ghana's authorities are expected to approve Aker Energy's revised $4.4 billion development plan for its offshore Pecan field by late in the third quarter of 2019, although delays could not be ruled out, Eriksen said.
Eriksen said he expected Aker Energy to raise the capital it needed despite volatility in the oil and gas market.
A first step towards attracting capital was taken this month, when Aker Energy issued subordinated convertible bonds of $100 million to Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
The bonds have a coupon of 5.5% and will be converted to equity in the event of an IPO.
Production is set to start 35 months after the final investment decision.
In other operations, Aker BP, in which Aker has a 40% stake and BP holds 30%, recently made an oil discovery, called Liataarnet, in the North Sea's NOAKA area with its partner LOTOS.
Eriksen said this find, estimated to hold 80 million to 200 million barrels of oil equivalent, could help Aker BP in its discussions with Norway's Equinor over how to develop the NOAKA oil and gas fields.
"I have noticed that Equinor stated publicly a few weeks ago that the Aker BP technical solution is of no interest to them, but that statement was made before the Liataarnet discovery, and that will change the dynamic of this discussion," he said.
"It goes without saying that with such a big, new discovery both Equinor and we have to revisit the technical concept," he added.
(Editing by Edmund Blair) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +47 2331 6592; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))