Energy exploration and production company Maurel & Prom relies on Intralinks® for Corporate Development to manage the acquisition and sale of its oil and natural gas assets around the globe.
As France’s second largest oil company, Maurel & Prom runs oil and gas exploration operations in a dozen countries across four continents. Over the past decade, the company has drilled more than 100 exploration wells with a success rate exceeding 46% – an impressive hit rate compared with industry benchmarks. To mitigate the risk of exploration wells that fail to produce, energy exploration companies diversify their portfolios by regularly buying and selling stakes in different oil fields around the world.
As part of the negotiations that take place during the portfolio diversification process, Maurel & Prom needs to share confidential petroleum models – complex computer simulations that map out geological layers and identify possible sources of oil – with potential partners. “We need to put these very large files in one place, and then somebody in South America or Africa needs to download them quickly,” said Duncan Williams, General Counsel for Maurel & Prom. “Obviously, you need to have a very fast system.”
Williams added that the security of the platform used to share these files is paramount: “We’re a publicly traded company with a €1.4 billion market cap, so information about how much oil we have and where it is located is incredibly sensitive. If any of this were to be leaked, it would obviously have a huge impact on our share price.”
Maurel & Prom initially conducted its business inside basic Virtual Data Rooms (VDR), a shared, secure meeting space in the cloud. Although its VDR vendors did provide a secure way to share proprietary documents, technical problems with their software consistently slowed down the actual deal preparation and negotiation process.
“With every deal, we would lose a couple of days of productivity due to issues with Java updates and firewall configurations,” he said. “It was a very tedious process.”
In addition, this previous VDR suppliers’ Web-based uploading of large files was much slower, forcing users to physically mail hard drives overnight and wait for their data to be added manually by the VDR vendor. “We basically lost a week getting our data room going because once a document was over 60 megabytes, you couldn’t upload it via the Web. You had to give them a disk,” Williams said.
All of these issues prompted Maurel & Prom to seek an alternative VDR that could handle both its security needs and allow users to quickly upload, organize, and archive its high volume of deal-related files.
While working on an asset sale with a financial advisor, Maurel & Prom’s legal team was introduced to Intralinks®, an advanced Virtual Data Room that helps companies easily share confidential documents while managing who has access and for how long.
“We were impressed with the speed of Intralinks, and the interface is much nicer than with other data rooms we’ve seen,” said Williams. “It was very flexible and much easier to organize than what we were using before. It made it seem like there was a very big team working in the background to make things go smoothly.”
With deals often involving dozens of internal and external players, Williams appreciated Intralinks' ability to set different levels of permissions for access to classified material. And because Intralinks' performance far surpasses Maurel & Prom’s previous VDR solution, users can now upload petroleum models and other large files via the Internet instead of physically shipping hard drives via overnight delivery service.
Through its use of Intralinks, Maurel & Prom spends significantly less time organizing and searching for documents, and more time focusing on its business and closing deals.
“We’ve recouped about 30% of our time. It’s much easier to upload documents, much easier to create groups and invite people, and much easier to find and open what you need,” Williams said. “There’s a lot less explaining to do, and far fewer nervous phone calls from people who can’t figure out what’ s going on.”
Williams added that Intralinks' technical support has created additional time savings for his negotiating teams.
“The thing that’s key for us is that we don’t have to spend a lot of time managing the nuts and bolts,” he said. “We can just call Intralinks and say, ‘Please do this for me,’ and they’ll do it. Their support team is fantastic.”