The Star (Nairobi)

7 December 2012

Kenya: State Puts the Breaks On Cove's Sale Plan

Kenya will not allow Cove Energy to transfer oil exploration license to its new owner PTT Exploration of Thailand for free.

Energy ministry permanent secretary Patrick Nyoike has said any transfer will have to be paid for before the government approves it.

PTT Exploration struck a deal in August to buy Cove, which holds shares in seven exploration licenses in Kenya's offshore oil blocks.

The firm sold out its interests in blocks L5, L7, L12, L11A and L11B in Lamu where its had partnered with US's Anadarko Corporation and Total, following acquisition in August by the Thai company PTT for over Sh150 billion.

Nyoike said Cove will not be allowed to transfer Kenya interests without sharing the sale proceeds with the government. "There is no way governments consent for such sale can be given for someone to sell a national asset license without compensating the rightful owners," Nyoike said.

Cove Energy Kenya is currently operating as separate entity from the sold unity in order to meet its license obligations in the seven blocks.

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