Horizon Oil gets OIO go ahead on Todd's oil fields stake

The Overseas Investment Office has approved ASX-listed Horizon Oil’s US$17.6 million acquisition of an additional 16% interest in the Maari and Manaia oil fields off the Taranaki Coast.

Todd Corp sold the stake late last year as part of the country’s wealthiest family and NBR Rich Lister's continuing to reshape its energy portfolio.

Horizon Oil said in an ASX statement that the investment is forecast to increase its total net operating cash flow to an average of $US60-70m for the next several years.

The company already owns a 10% stake in the offshore oil fields and the other stakeholders include operator OMV NZ (69%), and Cue Energy (5%).

The deal needed OIA approval because the investment relating to assets that exceed $100 million (the fields were valued at around $150 million).

In its decisions for February released today, the OIO said it was satisfied Horizon meet the good character test and had demonstrated financial commitment to the investment.

When the sale was announced last year, chief executive Brent Emmett said it hoped the larger interest will give Horizon Oil a greater say in the ongoing management of the fields.

The Maari field was discovered in 1983 and came on stream in 2009.

In April last year Todd Energy bought out its joint venture partner in the Kapuni onshore oil and gas field, while selling its 50 percent share in the Shell Todd Oil Services entity which managed oil and gas brought ashore from the Maui and Pohokura fields, offshore Taranaki.

A month later, Todd's Nova Energy retail unit sold its LPG business to Genesis Energy.

Horizon’s ASX-listed shares are currently trading at 13 Ac, well up on the 7.4Ac at the time the deal was announced.

It reported a 15% increase in revenue in its interim results in February although it made a wider loss.

(Additional reporting BusinessDesk)