(Bloomberg) -- Commodity trader Gunvor Group helped finance Gabon’s acquisition of Carlyle Group’s Assala Energy, the latest example of independent energy traders stepping in with deals for oil-producing countries in Africa.

The deal for the 45,000 barrel a day crude producer has been some time in the making. In January, Gabon’s national oil company exercised what it said was a preemptive right to the assets after France’s Etablissements Maurel & Prom SA struck a deal to buy the company. The move came just months after a military coup overthrew former leader Ali Bongo.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Gunvor provided around $800 million in financing for the transaction, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named discussing private contracts.

Assala “will enable the Republic of Gabon, reinforce its control and sovereignty over its oil and gas reserves and significantly increases its oil revenues,” Gabon Oil Company’s chief executive officer Marcellin Simba Ngabi said in press statement on Tuesday.

Gabon is one of OPEC’s smallest members, pumping about 220,000 barrels of oil a day. Assala’s operations account for a fifth of that production.

Trading houses have actively supplied oil products and purchased crude from countries across Africa for decades. But volatile energy prices and a crippling rise in the US dollar has seen oil companies in those nations lean on the cash-rich traders for finance in a series of high-profile deals recently.

Last November, Gunvor stepped in with a supply deal to assist Namibia’s state oil company after it had suffered an “unprecedented” loss. Vitol Group signed an agreement to became the sole supplier of oil products to Uganda’s National Oil Co.

Mostly owned by its billionaire co-founder Torbjörn Törnqvist, Gunvor is one of the world’s biggest independent traders of oil and gas. It made a net profit of $1.25 billion in 2023.

 

(Updates with additional information on Gunvor’s financing in the third paragraph)

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