Shell buys into Tullow's French Guiana oil fields

ROYAL Dutch Shell bought a third of explorer Tullow Oil&rsquo;s licence offshore French Guiana yesterday, with the option of taking a further 12 per cent.<br /><br />The slice Shell bought yesterday is part of a block valued at $234.4m (&pound;140m) and has geological similarities to Tullow&rsquo;s lucrative Jubilee project off the coast of Ghana in West Africa. The Jubilee site holds an estimated 1.8bn barrels of oil.<br /><br />Shell&rsquo;s involvement had been anticipated and was welcomed by analysts who said it boosted expectations for the oil field. Tullow also plans to sell another stake in the Guiana field before the end of the year.<br /><br />Charlie Sharpe, analyst at Matrix Corporate Capital, said: &ldquo;There are certain parallels with West Africa, so it&rsquo;s an interesting area, and the fact that Shell has taken a stake in the site just increases that interest.&rdquo;<br /><br />Meanwhile, Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) and Shell Eastern Petroleum have signed agreements which will see QPI take stakes in two Shell Chemicals joint ventures in Singapore. The deal is due to be completed by December.<br /><br />Tullow&rsquo;s shares closed 1.6 per cent down at &pound;12.49 yesterday, but Cazenove held its &ldquo;outperform&rdquo; recommendation and BoA Merrill Lynch reiterated its &ldquo;buy&rdquo; rating. Shell rose 1.4 per cent to close at &pound;18.81.