Tullow stops work off Guinea as partner is investigated

March 13, 2014

Tullow Oil Plc (TLW), a U.K. explorer operating mostly in Africa, suspended work at a project off Guinea as its partner at the site is investigated, Bloomberg reported on March 12. 

A U.S. probe into Hyperdynamics Corp. (HDY) means Tullow, which had planned to start drilling a deepwater well by April 1, is unable to meet its contractual obligations. The company “cannot proceed with its activities on the license until these issues are resolved,” spokesman George Cazenove said on March 12 by phone.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are probing Houston-based Hyperdynamics over the acquisition and retention of exploration rights in Guinea. Since last year the U.S. also has been examining how iron-mining rights were awarded in the West African nation’s Simandou area.

Tullow, the operator of the oil and gas project, joined the concession in 2012 by acquiring 40 percent from Hyperdynamics, which now has 37 percent. The London-based company agreed to pay $27 million in cash to Hyperdynamics to cover past costs and as much as $200 million for future expenses, it said at the time.

Copyright: Bloomberg, 2014