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Cove energy sur Oil Barrel forum 26/11/09

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En Résumé:
- Artumas a été un très bon deal pour commencer une nouvelle aventure
- Mnazi Bay permet d'avoir déjà du chiffre d'affaire
- 124 bcf net déjà prouvé
- Potentiel de 2TCF
- Usine de Mtwara consomme 1 million cf par jour mais a une capacité de 50 million cf par jour
C'est le Mozambique qui les attirent le plus avec de hauts espoirs
offshore: chaque forage va couter 70 à 80 m$ et il y en a 4 de prévu. Début le mois prochain
Onshore: Il ne peut rien dire car il y a des clauses de confidentialité.... Tien tien mais ils promettent des informations pour "bientôt"

This was not the first time John Craven, the final speaker of the day, had appeared at an event but it was his first time as chief executive of industry newcomer Cove Energy. Earlier this year Craven was CEO of Petroceltic International, the AIM explorer focused on Algeria, but now he heads up another African explorer. Cove, which has a market cap of £60 million and US$63 million in cash, was formed earlier this year through the acquisition of an AIM cash shell. In the following nine months, the company has raised £42 million through a placing, acquired a set of assets in Mozambique from distressed seller Artumas for US$3.6 million, and has started drilling its first well, Mecupa-1 onshore Mozambique.

Craven believes the way to deliver value for shareholders is through drillbit success – he highlighted Tullow in Ghana, Interoil in Papua New Guinea and Isramco in Tamar,. Which is 90 kilometres due west offshore the Israeli town of Haifa in 1600 metres of water (which has since its share price increase ten fold on the back of an at least 5tcf discovery). “The organic exploration cycle of four to six years from acreage acquisition to drilling is too long for investors, it’s pretty dull for them,” said Craven. “So it’s part of our strategy to compress this cycle by acquiring exploration opportunities, gaining access to projects with existing 3D seismic, using our seismic deal with PGS to access seismic data and the facilitation of Gazprombank Invest [non-exec Ivan Murphy is a senior executive with the bank].”

The Artumas deal provided what Craven called the “ideal starter pack for a small company”. It now has proven reserves of 124 bcf net through its 16.38 per cent interest in the producing Mnazi Bay gas field in Tanzania as well as additional exploration upside around the field, which Craven reckons could exceed 2 tcf. The field is producing 1 million cf/d into the Mtwara power plant, which is capable of taking more gas, as much as 50 million cf/d through the existing facilities (but it was this project and the lack of gas market in Tanzania that brought Artumas low so this will be a very carefully phased development).

“Mnazi Bay is the safety side of the deal, it underpins the value of the company and the share price,” said Craven, “but the real excitement in the company going forward is Mozambique.”

Here, Cove now has a stake in an emerging exploration hotspot, with a 10 per cent interest in the Anadarko-operated Onshore Rovuma Block and 8.5 per cent of the Offshore Rovuma Area 1 Block. Using the same Anadarko slide favoured by Aminex plc chairman Brian Hall whenever he showcases the prospectivity of his Ruvuma Basin acreage on the Mozambique side of the border, Craven showed the potential of the offshore acreage. Anadarko claims the Offshore Rovuma acreage is analogous to world-class basins with multiple play types and multi-billion barrel potential. The first deepwater well is set to spud next month using the Belford Dolphin, which Anadarko has under contract until 2013 (this is the same rig that drilled the successful wells in Ghana and Cove is hoping that some of the big fan complexes seen on the seismic will deliver the same kind of success Tullow enjoyed in west Africa).

This is deepwater wildcatting, with each well costing US$70 to US$80 million, and Anadarko plans to drill four of them before the end of Q4 2010. This will be followed by three shallow water wells in 2011, although success in the deepwater could see the follow-up wells being switched to deeper waters. This means that newbie Cove Energy can offer investors a run of high impact wells over the next two years.

Onshore, the joint venture is already drilling the Mecupa-1 well. Craven could say nothing on this because of confidentiality agreements. Again, it promises some near-term newsflow. Cove’s E&P story may just be beginning but what a beginning: within nine months it has production on the books, a first well drilling and four high impact deepwater wildcats set to come in the year ahead. Nothing dull about this company.

Click here to see the Cove Energy presentation

The next conference will be on February 18, 2010 at The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London, EC1. To book your place, please email mary.smith[at] Wishing you all a happy holiday season and see you in the New Year!

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