Cobalt Halves Workforce as Angola Exit Comes Closer

Cobalt International Energy, a Houston-based oil exploration and production company, will reduce its workforce by 50 percent when compared to its pre-Angola sale workforce.

According to Cobalt, with the pending transfer of the company’s Angolan assets and its focus on reducing costs, Cobalt is in the process of restructuring its organization in order to “better align with its post-Angola business needs”.

To remind, in August 2015, Cobalt entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Sonangol for the sale of Cobalt’s 40% working interest in Angola Blocks 20 and 21 for an aggregate gross consideration of $1.75 billion.

Cobalt received the initial payment of $250 million in 2015 and expects to close the transaction upon receipt of applicable Angola government approvals, the company said on Monday.

In light of the sale transaction and consistent with Sonangol’s desires, Cobalt said it has initiated activities to cease its Angola operations by late summer. In this regard, Cobalt has informed most of its vendors, contractors, and employees of its plans for cessation of operations over the next few months, the company stated.

In addition, as agreed with and advised by Sonangol, Cobalt said it has ended all contract discussions with potential contractors in connection with the Cameia development project.

Cobalt also said it would drill the remaining two exploration commitment wells on Block 20 and then intends to release the Petroserv Catarina drilling rig upon its contract expiry in May 2016.

Cobalt on Monday posted a net loss of $486.9 million for the 4Q 2015, compared to a loss of $216.6 million in the corresponding quarter in 2014.

The company further added it expects its capital expenditures to be approximately $450 to $500 million in 2016, which excludes general and administrative expenses, interest expense and costs attributable to discontinued operations.

Capital expenditures are primarily attributable to operated activities related to the Rowan Reliance drillship and non-operated activities at Shenandoah, Anchor and Heidelberg.

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