Hyperdynamics to sell 40 pct stake in Guinea asset to Tullow Oil

9:06am EST

Nov 20 (Reuters) - Oil and gas explorer Hyperdynamics Corp said it would sell a 40 percent interest in its primary asset in offshore Guinea to Britain's Tullow Oil Plc.

Hyperdynamics shares jumped 37 percent to $1.23 in premarket trading.

The company, which has seen its liquidity shrink due to higher-than-expected drilling costs, said in April it was looking to sell about half of its 77 percent stake in the 25,000-square-kilometer licence.

Guinea was reviewing Hyperdynamics' rights to nearly a third of the country's offshore oil blocks, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing a source.

The west African country had alleged that the resource contract was signed under murky conditions. Texas-based Hyperdynamics, which began operating in Guinea in 2002, relinquished 70 percent of its original holding in 2009 after a public outcry.

Under Tuesday's agreement, Tullow will pay Hyperdynamics $27 million for its past costs and also carry a share of the company's future expenses up to $100 million.

The sale is expected to close by year-end following an approval from Guinea's mines and geology ministry.

Hyperdynamics shares closed at 90 cents on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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