Cove executives to start Africa-focussed exploration firm

oilwell  Geoff  Dianne RhodesFormer executives from Cove Energy Plc will start an Africa-focussed oil and gas exploration firm after the company was sold for US$1.9bn to Thailand’s PTTE, earlier in 2012

According to a Bloomberg report, the ex-Cove executives, including chairman Michael Blaha, chief executive officer John Craven, and finance director Michael Nolan, were expected to be involved in the project which will be called Discover.

Discover has secured some private financing and may pursue an eventual initial public offering in London, added the report.

East Africa, where Cove owned 8.5 per cent of the Rovuma-1 exploration block in Mozambique, was attracting interest from global energy companies looking to meet surging demand for energy from the Asian economies.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Eni SpA were among companies looking to tap Mozambique while firms, including Statoil and Tullow Oil were seeking oil off Kenya.

London-based oil and gas analyst at Jefferies International, Laura Loppacher, said, “East Africa is one of the biggest positive surprises in terms of exploration in the last few years. Investors in companies doing exploration in East Africa have been rewarded and that naturally makes people want to take another look.”

Bangkok-based PTTE agreed to buy Cove in July after a five-month takeover battle with Royal Dutch Shell Plc that more than doubled the company’s share price.

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