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United States firm mulls joint ventures in Kenya, Chad

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- U.S-based oil and gas exploration firm, ERHC Energy, said Tuesday it has retained the services of Deloitte Corporate Finance (DCF) to advise on the company’s oil assets in Kenya and Chad for possible joint ventures amid drop in global oil prices.

The firm’s CEO Peter Ntephe said in a statement that the drop in global oil prices has prompted consolidation among oil exploration companies. It said DCF will advise ERHC on matters related to possible joint ventures, alliances sales and divestitures on the Kenya and Chad licenses.

“These are challenging times for all oil exploration companies and we are leveraging DCF’s depth of skills and experience to support us in making decisions based on information that is constantly evolving,” Ntephe said in the statement received in Nairobi.

ERHC currently holds a 100 percent interest in Block BDS-2008 in Southern Chad and a carried 35 percent interest in Block 11A in Northwestern Kenya.

Recent discoveries of oil and gas across the East Africa region have positioned the region as a lucrative investment destination in Africa for foreign investors who have been scouting for opportunities. Some five upstream oil and gas companies are ramping up activity in Kenya, as the country becomes a focal exploration point in a dash for the commodities.

Research has shown that discoveries in the last few years are more than that of any other region in the world, and the boom is expected to continue for the next five years.

This impressive position is, however, becoming less significant as global oil prices continue to fall. Experts said further decline threatens the region’s economic prospects.

“We anticipate DCF’s involvement will be valuable as we pursue strategic options through access to their global network of corporate finance professionals around the world,” Ntephe said.

Beyond its assets in Chad and Kenya, ERHC also is seeking new strategic investment into the company itself.

“The current valuation of ERHC presents an exceptional opportunity for equity investors to gain access to ERHC’s rich portfolio of licenses,” Ntephe said. 


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