PE-Backed Kosmos Energy Files For $500 million IPO

Kosmos Energy plans to raise up to $500 million in an initial public offering, the West Africa-focused oil company told U.S. regulators in a filing on Friday, according to sister news service Reuters.

Kosmos, backed by private equity firms Blackstone Group and Warburg Pincus, plans to use proceeds from the offering to help fund its capital spending. Its capital spending budget for 2011 is $400 million.

Kosmos owns a 23.49 percent stake in Ghana’s Jubilee offshore oilfield, which is operated by Britain’s Tullow Oil and holds around 1.6 billion barrels of light crude. The company expects gross oil production from Jubilee to reach 120,000 barrels of oil per day in mid-2011.

The Hamilton, Bermuda-based company told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a preliminary prospectus that Credit Suisse, Citigroup and Barclays Capital were underwriting the IPO. The filing did not reveal how many shares the company planned to sell or their offer price.

The oil and gas exploration and production company intends to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “KOS.” Kosmos has tried to sell its assets in Ghana, but encountered government snags.

In a saga that unnerved some potential investors, Kosmos in August called off what sources close to the deal said was a $4 billion pact to sell its stake to ExxonMobil after resistance from state oil company Ghana National Petroleum Corp.

Chinese oil company CNOOC later made a $5 billion joint bid with GNPC for Kosmos’s major oil fields in the West African country. In November, a GNPC official said Kosmos shelved its Ghana sale plans.

Kosmos said last month that it, the Ghanaian government and GNPC agreed to resolve several issues, including matters related to Kosmos’s corporate structure and its debt facility.

Michael Erman is a New York-based correspondent for Reuters; Sweta Singh is a Bangalore-based correspondent.