UPDATE 1-Tullow flags Kenya restart, weak North Sea sale process

Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:22am EST
 
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* North Sea buyers struggle to get finance

* French Guiana well programme finished, assessment starts

* "Accelerates" local engagement in Kenya's Turkana community

By Andrew Callus

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Africa-focused Tullow Oil Plc confirmed on Wednesday it had restarted operations in northern Kenya on Nov. 8 after reaching a deal with local leaders to prevent a repeat of protests that halted work last month.

Residents of the remote, poverty-stricken northern Turkana community, supported by a local politician, marched on Tullow operations on Oct. 26 to demand more jobs and other benefits. The government said protesters ransacked one site, which Tullow works on with partner Africa Oil.

Paul McDade, London-listed Tullow's chief operating officer, said the company had agreed to "accelerate" training programmes and other community involvement schemes.

In a trading statement, Tullow also gave an update on a number of key wells worldwide. It flagged a weak market for the mature southern North Sea assets it is trying to sell - extending the process over the next 18 months and breaking up the business to sell it in smaller pieces.

"We realised, having gone through the initial process, the market for those types of assets is a bit weaker than we anticipated. Potential buyers can see the value there but really struggle a little bit to structure the finance around it," McDade told Reuters.   Continued...