January 25, 2019 / 2:23 PM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Neptune Energy, DEA bid for Edison's oil and gas assets - sources

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By Shadia Nasralla, Ron Bousso and Clara Denina

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Private-equity backed Neptune Energy and Germany’s DEA are bidding for the oil and gas assets in Egypt, Italy and elsewhere being sold by EDF’s Italian unit Edison, industry sources said on Friday.

The offers are non-binding at this stage, one of the sources said. Edison wants to exit oil and gas production to focus on its domestic electricity and gas retail business.

Edison’s oil and gas production has grown sharply in the past decade, with activities focused in Italy, the British and Norwegian North Sea, Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Croatia and the Falkland Islands.

The Egyptian assets, including the Abu Qir concession and more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent in reserves, are one of the most attractive parts, accounting for more than 50 percent of the value of the portfolio, sources said.

The Italian assets account for about a third of the value.

“You’re buying Edison for Egypt,” one source with knowledge of the matter said.

Private equity-backed Apex International also looked at the assets but decided against bidding for the whole package as it was mostly interested in the Egyptian and Norwegian assets, one of the sources said.

EDF, Neptune, Apex and DEA, which is in the process of merging with BASF’s Wintershall, declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Geert de Clerq Editing by Jason Neely and Edmund Blair

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