US energy company Cobalt has received its first financing in the senior secured bank debt market, for the development of the Heidelberg deepwater oil field in the Gulf of Mexico.
The US$150mn loan was arranged by Société Générale, which acted as structuring bank, lead technical l bank and administrative agent. The bank fully underwrote the facility and committed the entire initial amount, but was subsequently joined by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Agricole and Natixis as mandated lead arrangers.
This is the first single-field development financing in the Gulf of Mexico, and will allow Cobalt to perform drilling and exploration as part of its 9.375% share of the Heidelberg project. The rest of the shares are held by Anadarko as operator (31.5%), Marubeni Oil and Gas (12.75%), Freeport-McMoRan (12.5%), ENI (12.5%), Statoil (12%) and ExxonMobil (9.375%) and Cobalt (9.375%).
Joseph H Bryant, Cobalt CEO, explains: “The successful execution of this transaction provides a foundation for future development financings, thereby broadening our options for financing future field developments.”
Kevin Price, global head of reserve-based finance at Société Générale, adds: “These project finance loan structures have been used for decades in the international bank markets to finance the development of large offshore oil and gas fields and we are pleased that we were able to use our global presence along with our upstream finance franchise to assist Cobalt. Cobalt’s portfolio of high-quality discoveries and its technical and managerial expertise were key factors in the success of the financing.”
The Heidelberg field is located 225km off the shore of Louisiana, at a water depth of 1,620m (5,310ft), and is estimated to contain up to 200 million barrels of oil. It received approval for development in May 2013, with initial oil and gas production expected to start in mid-2016.