* Bangchak Corporation to become the largest shareholder
* Okea CEO says IPO part of deal to buy some assets from Shell
* IPO expected in next 12 months (Adds CEO comments on Bangchak Corporation stake)
By Ole Petter Skonnord and Nerijus Adomaitis
OSLO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Norwegian oil company Okea plans an initial public offering (IPO) in Oslo as part of its deal to buy some assets from Shell in Norway positioning it for more mergers and acquisitions, its chief executive said on Friday.
A number of private equity-backed firms such as Okea, Chrysaor, Neptune and Siccar Point, have entered the North Sea oil and gas sector since the oil market’s 2014 downturn as oil majors and European energy firms sought to divest.
Okea, co-founded by former Norwegian oil and energy minister Ola Borten Mo in 2015 and backed by Seacrest Capital, agreed in June to acquire stakes in Norway’s Draugen and Gjoea fields from Shell for 4.5 billion Norwegian crowns ($535 million).
The acquisition gave the company production of around 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, providing a platform to pursue further merger and acquisition opportunities, Chief Executive Erik Haugane said in a statement on Friday.
Bangchak Corporation, a Thai downstream oil and gas firm, has agreed to invest one billion crowns to partly fund the acquisition, and, as a result, would become Okea’s largest shareholder with 45-49 percent stake, he told Reuters.
Seacrest Capital will hold around 35 percent, he added.
Haugane also said the Thai firm was behind the plan to seek Okea’s listing, adding the IPO would be in the next 12 months.
Okea on Friday also said it would raise $13.1 million via a private placement to finance working capital prior to closing the acquisition.
Pareto Securities AS and SpareBank 1 Markets AS are acting as managers and bookrunners for the private placement.
Haugane said the company didn’t plan to raise more money until the planned IPO, unless it decides to acquire more assets, adding that he saw “several opportunities” on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Okea also holds a tiny stake in Aker BP’s Ivar Aasen field, a 15-percent stake in Repsol’s Yme field and a 70 percent stake in the Grevling discovery.
$1 = 8.4130 Norwegian crowns Additional reporting by Ron Bousso in London; Editing by Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise