The Cession of a block of shares representing between 35 and 51% of the capital of the Tunisian Compagny of Drilling (CFT), which is the main local operator in terms of petrol drillings especially those ongoing. No less than five international groups showed their interest and have been short-listed for this operation. We should note that, at least two Tunisian enterprises from the sector, gathered in a consortium, applied with the five foreign ones.
Accordingly, we find in the short list the largest drilling enterprise worldwide which with a turnover of (CA) 90 million USD in 2007 and which is American. Nabors, the involved entrepreneur, owns already over 1300 drilling machines and employs over 24 thousand people. Then, there is another American entrepreneur applying in a consortium with a foreigner. Weatherford is presented as the world leader in petrol services with a turnover of 832 million USD, last year. The third short-listed, the Croatian Crosco who applied in a consortium with the Tunisian Ofis, subsidiary of the group Setcar of Farid Abbès. The Croatian has a turnover of 295 million USD with 63 engines, among which 3 in the sea. The fourth short-listed for the purchase of the CFT, is an Argentinian entrepreneur applying in a consortium with Pireco of Abdessalem Ben Ayed. His partner, DLS is a subsidiary of the American Allis Chamlers Energy and realises a turnover of 216 million USD with 72 drilling engines. The last short-listed for the purchase of the CFT, applying on his own is the Algerian ENTP. Subsidiary of Sonatrach, realises a turnover of 398 million USD with 44 engines and who was partner of Weatherford for another project in Algeria.
We should note, from reliable sources, that the sale of the 51% of the Tunisian Drilling Company should be carried out in very specific conditions. According to our sources, the privatisation of this public company which realised in 2006, substantial profits of 5,4 million Dinars, a net increase in comparison with the 642 thousand Dinard in 2005, could be done without the enterprise getting out of the hands of the Tunisian entrepreneurs. W e have heard that one of the conditions made to the investors, could be that the majority of the future capital of the enterprise should remain in the hands of the Tunisians, be it the State or a private entrepreneur or a private-public partnership. The new owner could, then be asked to give at least 1 % of the new capital, i.e. the 51 %. If this condition is met, the remaining 49 % of the capital which will be owned by the Tunisian public sector (directly the Tunisian State and indirectly through the Tunisian institutions) could be completed by the 1 or 2 % of the Tunisian partner of the foreign buyer, so that the CIF remains Tunisian in its majority.
Created in 1981, the CTF holds 60% of the drilling market in Tunisia with revenues increasing by 20 % between 2005 and 2006, from 24,7 MDT to 29,7 MDT and with a rise in RBE from 198 thousand dinars to 8 MDT. Subsidiary of the public enterprise of petrol activities (ETAP) specialised in drilling and maintaining hydrocarbon wells to over 6.000 metre depth, employs about 600 people ; it is now operating on six platforms ans suffers from brain drain, executives being attracted by the various competing enterprises which are settling in Tunisia to explore petrol and gas.
We should note that the CTF is involved in the privatisation programme for public enterprises and the Business Bank of Tunisia (BAT managed by Habib Karawli) which assists the Tunisian State in the operation of transfer to a strategic investor of the petrol drilling sector.