x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Canadian firm to take over oil prospector Thani

An obscure firm with links to Emaar Properties is to acquire the operations of the Dubai company Thani Emirates Petroleum, which explores for oil in North and West Africa.

An obscure Canadian firm with links to Emaar Properties is to acquire the operations of the Dubai company Thani Emirates Petroleum, which explores for oil in North and West Africa. The deal with Blackbird Energy is a "reverse takeover", which will give Thani a listing on Canada's TSX Venture Exchange more cheaply and with less public disclosure than required for an initial public offering on the junior exchange, which lists the shares of small and early-stage enterprises.

Blackbird is to issue shares to Thani Emirates amounting to 72.5 per cent of its authorised share capital and will pay Thani C$15 million (Dh55m) to acquire Thani Netherlands, the unit holding the African exploration acreage. After the transaction, Thani will take control of Blackbird's board and change the name of the company to Thani Emirates Petroleum. The deal is contingent on a number of factors. At the top of the list is completing a C$32.5m financing.

Neither Thani nor Blackbird currently pumps any oil, and both may be in need of capital. Thani is regarded as a "minnow" in the African oil and gas sector. It has exploration concessions in Tunisia, Egypt and Ghana. Blackbird is exploring an oil prospect in Texas but had a setback last year when its exploration well was damaged. Blackbird's chairman is Robert Booth, the Canadian property executive in charge of the North American portfolio of Emaar, the developer that built the landmark Burj Khalifa.

Thani Emirates is a unit of the Thani Group, a family-owned holding company whose interests include oil and gas, mining and property. tcarlisle@thenational.ae