How White & Case Advised TNOG Oil on Acquisition of OML 17

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•UK law firm names Nigerian, Deji Adegoke partner

Obinna Chima

Global law firm, White & Case LLP, has disclosed that it advised Trans Niger Oil and Gas Limited (TNOG), a related company of Heirs Holdings Oil & Gas Limited and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), on the highly innovative acquisition financing of a 45 per cent participating interest in OML 17 and related assets from the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and ENI.

TNOG Oil and Gas Limited, now has sole operatorship of the asset.
This is just as White & Case has announced the promotion of Deji Adegoke, one of its officials, who played a key role in the transaction to the position of a Partner in its Global Project Development and Finance Practice.

Based in London, Adegoke acts for lenders, sponsors and borrowers in project finance transactions, reserve-based lending, corporate acquisition financing across the oil and gas, mining, infrastructure and telecommunication sectors.
Adegoke has also confirmed the development in a telephone chat with THISDAY yesterday.

“My law firm advised TNOG in connection with the raising of the financing for the acquisition of the 45 per cent interest in OML 17. We assisted TNOG in negotiating with the lenders and we advised them from start to finish.
“The team at TNOG was really excellent and the team was led by Sam Nwanze and the transaction really showed what Nigerian indigenous companies can achieve and we are really confident that TNOG is going to be a fantastic integrated energy company,” he said.

According to him, the successful execution of the deal also contributed to his recent promotion, saying his firm was dedicated to Nigeria.
“We have worked for many years advising oil and gas companies in Nigeria, the NNPC, and others. So, we have a long history in Nigeria and I guess my promotion was also a sign of the commitment that the firm has for Nigeria and Africa generally. The transaction shows the potential of the African market.

“This financing structure will set a new benchmark for future emerging markets financings – the combination of a convertible facility has no precedent in the African market. Borrowers will continue to look to use these forms of credit diverse financing structures in order to attract as broad a lending group as possible. These structures are sector agnostic and can be applied to infrastructure projects just as easily as oil & gas,” Adegoke added.

A statement from the firm quoted White & Case Partner, Jason Kerr, who led the firm’s deal team to have said, “The assets are strategically important for these sponsors in achieving their objective of being a key integrated energy provider in the Nigerian market.

“Our cross-practice team on this unique transaction showcased the experience we have in Nigeria and the capabilities our clients rely on for complex first-of-kind financings in the oil & gas sector and emerging markets.”

Furthermore, it stated that the acquisition by the sponsors of the strategic onshore assets was a continuance of the international oil companies’ (IOCs) divestment process that had been taking place, particularly in Nigeria, over the past few years, adding that it illustrates the confidence Nigerian investors and international financiers have in the market.

“The highly innovative financing is supported by a broad lending group of international and regional commercial banks, strategic industry investors, investment funds and international financial institutions and illustrates the broad appeal of the assets and the financing structure put forward by the sponsors.

“The total financing is in excess of $1 billion and the borrowers have the ability to increase the commitments across the entire capital structure from time to time, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions,” the statement added.

Members of the White & Case team, which advised on the transaction included Kerr, Adegoke, Ben Wilkinson, Mukund Dhar, Ingrid York, Richard Pogrel and Kamran Ahmad (all London), counsel Tallat Hussain and Catherine Andrews (both London) and Nathaniel Crowley (Hong Kong), and associates Hashim Eltumi, Ana Louise O’Sullivan, Phillan Amin, Lauren Vallender, Amy Watts and Bruna Beloso (all London).