(BPC, 1.Dec.2020) — Bahamas Petroleum Company plc provided an update on its strategy, deliverables and 2021 work program for its portfolio of assets in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.
The company’s work program priorities follow receipt of a Competent Person’s Report (CPR) by independent reserves auditor ERC Equipoise Pte Ltd (ERCE), in respect of the reserves and resources attributable to the company’s currently producing assets in Trinidad and Tobago and the planned extended well test (EWT) in Suriname, as at 30 September 2020.
Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname strategy defined to deliver by end of 2021:
– A revenue run-rate of >$35mn per annum
– An operating cashflow run-rate of >$15mn per annum
This is based upon achieving, or exceeding, a production target of 2,500 bopd, current oil prices, and an extraction cost of <$20 per barrel
A comprehensive 2021 work program has been developed to deliver this strategy, with planned activity across BPC’s portfolio of assets in Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname:
– Base program of 2 appraisal wells, up to 13 production wells, and up to 2 exploration wells (all subject to permitting)
– Production and potential development could be further accelerated by adding up to an extra 11 production wells and 1 extra exploration well (subject to permitting and rig availability)
2021 base work program in detail:
– Drilling of Saffron #2 appraisal well commencing in February 2021, which, subject to results, would rapidly see BPC seek approvals for a Saffron field development, and with up to 7 production wells to follow through 2021
– Drilling of appraisal well and an Extended Well Test (EWT) in the Weg Naar Zee Block in Suriname in February 2021, and subject to results, rapidly moving into a wider field development, with up to 6 production wells to follow through 2021, and
– Completion of reprocessing of the entire 3D seismic grid over the highly prospective South West Peninsula (SWP) of Trinidad, high-grading Saffron lookalike prospects for drilling, with up to 2 initial exploration wells by the end of 2021
Depending on technical outcomes, speed of permitting approvals, and rig and funding availability, an accelerated 2021 work program could include:
– Up to a further 8 Saffron production wells in Trinidad and Tobago,
– Up to a further 3 Weg naar Zee production wells in Suriname, and
– A further 1 exploration well in the SWP
Anticipated capital expenditure for the base work program of up to $20mn, and up to approximately $35mn in a scenario where all developments and exploration activities are accelerated (in all cases subject to funding and rig availability and permitting)
As with Perseverance #1 in The Bahamas over the past 2 years, the company has developed a funding strategy for operations in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, which it will seek to implement in coming months and thereafter through 2021 so as to ensure funding for planned operations is available as and when required, on the best possible terms, with a view to achieving the best outcomes for shareholders
For BPC’s currently producing assets the CPR indicates:
– Certified net 2P reserves across BPC’s portfolio of production assets in Trinidad and Tobago of 1.29 MMbbl – exceeding BPC’s target for end of 2020 by 30% (BPC calculates this represents in excess of $50m of undiscounted gross future cashflow at $40/bbl oil), and
– Certified net 2C contingent resources of 7.46 MMbbl across BPC’s portfolio of production assets in Trinidad and Tobago and in Suriname, providing clear direction as to where to apply work and capital during 2021
Simon Potter, CEO of BPC, said:
“BPC’s stated strategy has been to complement high-impact exploration activities with producing and thus cash generative assets. In this context we are pleased to advise of our upcoming work program for 2021 in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, which will see us execute an aggressive program of new wells – exploration, appraisal and production – across the portfolio, evidencing our commitment to operations in those countries.
Our 2021 work program is targeting the addition of entirely new productive capacity, rather than having to expend capital to simply produce existing reserves. Thus, this work is directly in pursuit of our stated production goal, to achieve and potentially exceed a production level of 2,500 bopd by the end of 2021. The program as a whole represents a material increase to that previously undertaken prior to BPC assuming control of these assets.
Systematic maturation of our resources into reserves through technical application and prioritised capital deployment is a core part of our business strategy. The CPR just received is firmly in line with that strategy. In confirming 2P reserves that are 30% in excess of what we had prognosed at the time of acquisition, the CPR provides confidence that our target baseline production is underpinned for a number of years to come, whilst also providing a roadmap by which this number could be grown further.
Our focus for continued resource and reserves growth now turns to the South West Peninsula of Trinidad, where in addition to appraisal of the Saffron discovery we have identified 9 other prospects of roughly equivalent size to Saffron. The Saffron #2 well, targeting a thicker downdip reservoir section, will mature the BPC technical understanding of the Saffron field, and further inform our development plans. We have already awarded a contract for initial 3D seismic reprocessing of the dataset that covers the SWP as a whole, which will underpin maturation and prioritisation of prospects for exploration drilling later in 2021. These activities, once completed, are expected to result in a material contribution to growth of our 2P reserves and 2C resources, with a CPR update targeted for Q2 2021 to incorporate the outcomes of these workstreams, and to inform ongoing work in pursuit of our production target of 2,500 bopd by the end of 2021.”
Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname: 2021 Proposed Work Program
BPC’s strategy is to achieve material, profitable growth in production from its assets in Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname. In pursuance of this strategy, a work program has been developed that is aimed at ramping up production to 2,500 bopd or more by the end of year 2021. In addition, the company also plans to explore and appraise certain new prospects so as to add resources and thus reserves for future production growth in 2022 and beyond.
The key highlights of the proposed work program in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname are as follows:
Trinidad and Tobago
– Boost production from existing fields by applying a proven, mature asset mindset and skillset: this requires maintaining the existing well stock by way of focused preventative maintenance and a proactive continuous well intervention program to maintain baseline production of approximately 500 bopd, along with targeted initiatives to enhance that baseline production using enhanced oil recovery techniques, field extensions and focused technical work, which are expected to result in 20%-35% increase in the baseline production on a sustainable basis. The estimated incremental operating expenditure for these initiatives is approximately $2mn, with a rapid payback anticipated.
– Appraisal and development of the existing Saffron discovery: this comprises drilling the Saffron #2 appraisal well during Q1 2021 (to include a production completion), to be followed by further development wells from Q2 2021 (based upon delivery of the Saffron #2 pre-drill prognosis). The company expects to be able to drill up to 7 development wells during 2021 by using 1 rig, whilst retaining the flexibility of accelerating the development drilling of up to 8 additional developments wells if 2 rigs are used on a continuous basis (subject to permitting and funding availability). The estimated capital cost for the base Saffron appraisal and development program during 2021 is approximately $12.5m (or up to $25mn in the case of accelerated development, subject to permitting and funding availability).
– Exploration and appraisal of additional prospects: The company has identified 9 leads and prospects in the South West Peninsula of Trinidad that could potentially be of equivalent size to the existing Saffron discovery. The company has commissioned 3D seismic reprocessing to high grade and prioritise these prospects. Based on the results of this new work (expected in early 2021), the company aims to identify at least two prospects for exploration drilling (and appraisal, subject to results) during 2021. The estimated capital cost for this exploration drilling is approximately $3mn ($1.5mn per well – potential to add a production completion would add a further $0.5mn per well). Subject to technical results, capital availability and permitting, this program could expand to include an additional exploration well.
– Weg naar Zee appraisal well, extended well test and development: The company has identified and permitted the location to drill an appraisal well with an extended well test during Q1 2021, to be followed by development wells from H2 2021 if justified. The company expects to be able to drill up to 6 development wells using 1 rig (whilst retaining the flexibility of accelerating the development drilling to add up to a further 3 development wells, subject to technical results, permitting, and rig and funding availability). The estimated capital costs for this base program is approximately $3mn (or $4mn in an accelerated case, including necessary pumps and development infrastructure).
Competent Person’s Report
Following completion of the merger of BPC with Columbus in August 2020, BPC commissioned an independent Competent Person’s Report (CPR) from ERC Equipoise (ERCE). The scope of the report was to focus on reserves and contingent resources across the company’s existing producing assets in Trinidad and Tobago, and the company’s Weg naar Zee licence in Suriname, so as to enable to company to develop its work program for 2021 and make appropriate capital allocation decisions.
Summary results from the CPR are as follows:
In August 2020, when BPC assumed control of this portfolio of assets through the merger with Columbus, the company established a target of achieving net 2P reserves of at least 1 MMbbl by the end of 2020. The net 2P reserves as certified in the CPR exceeds this target by 30%.
2P reserves relate to known oil that is capable of being produced economically, and thus the 2P reserves as certified by ERCE relate solely to production capable of being generated from BPC’s existing wells in existing fields. The 2P reserves do not assume any contribution from infield drilling and enhanced oil recovery projects. Moreover, apart from routine operating costs required to keep wells online, accessing this production potential does not require material amounts of incremental capital expenditure.
As such, at current oil prices of around $40 per barrel, BPC estimate this level of 2P reserve represents in excess of $50mn of gross cashflow potential to BPC, and a reserve base equivalent to a baseline production of 500 bopd for approximately 7 years.
Given these production and economic characteristics, 2P reserves are a readily monetizable asset, and BPC has been approached by various financing providers requesting the Company to consider the suitability of a Reserve Base Lending (RBL) facility against its 2P reserves.
Certified 2C Contingent Resources
ERCE has certified 2C resources across BPC’s portfolio assets in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, as summarised in the following table:
2C resources relate to hydrocarbons that ERCE considers can be producible from the existing discovered fields, albeit contingent on the expenditure of development capital for infill wells and the successful delivery of waterflood and CO2 injection projects. As future capital is deployed it would typically be expected that the 2C resource base would migrate into the 2P reserves category upon demonstration of commercial viability. As such, the certified 2C resources position provides validation of BPC’s capacity / strategy to achieve near-term incremental production growth, as well as providing clear direction as to capital prioritisation during the course of 2021.
South West Peninsula (SWP), including Saffron
BPC holds an extensive portfolio of high-quality exploration assets in the South West Peninsula of Trinidad and Tobago. In Q1 2020, whilst these assets were under the ownership and control of Columbus, the Saffron #1 exploration well was drilled, to test for the presence of hydrocarbons in the Middle Cruse and Lower Cruse sands. At the time, Columbus’ pre-drill resource estimate was in the order of up to 11 MMbbl. The work planned by BPC for Q1 2021, specifically the drilling of Saffron #2, will further seek to establish this potential by targeting a thicker, slightly down dip reservoir section. A similar capital cost for Saffron #2 is anticipated for the Saffron #1 well – whilst the cost estimate includes the additional cost of a production completion, an offsetting amount has been saved by the use of the same drill pad, thus generating material savings on preparation costs.
In addition to the Saffron prospect, during initial due diligence prior to the Columbus merger and in further work undertaken over the past 3 months since the Columbus merger completed, BPC’s internal work has identified 9 other prospects across the SWP of approximately equivalent size to the Saffron prospect. So as to effectively prioritise these prospects and plan for exploration drilling activities, a body of work to reprocess 3D seismic data covering the SWP has recently been initiated. This work is expected to complete early in 2021. The company expects that these activities (drilling of Saffron #2 and seismic reprocessing), once complete, will result in material additions to both the 2P reserves and 2C resources categories, consistent with the company’s resource maturation process and production growth and thus cash generation strategy.
It is also expected that, in the event of a discovery arising from the Perseverance #1 well in The Bahamas (which is on schedule to spud prior to the end of 2020 and take between 45-60 days to drill), a separate CPR exercise will be undertaken in respect of the company’s licences in The Bahamas.
Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname Work Program Funding
Through 2019 and 2020 BPC has adhered to a predefined funding strategy designed to:
(i) secure multiple sources of funding,
(ii) develop flexible funding alternatives, given that the potential cost and timing of the need for funding might vary,
(iii) seek to match timing of funding inflows with timing of funding outflows,
(iv) balance the cost of funding with the need to secure funding certainty,
(v) achieve funding on the most advantageous terms possible, and
(vi) minimise overall dilution.
In delivering on this strategy, primarily in pursuit of securing funding for the Perseverance #1 well in The Bahamas, BPC has fully leveraged the range of funding options open to it. Specifically, since the middle of 2019 BPC has:
(i) undertaken an open offer to shareholders,
(ii) undertaken two equity placings to institutional investors,
(iii) secured an as yet undrawn £15 million Conditional Convertible Note facility (subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent),
(iv) sponsored the creation of a Bahamian-domiciled investment fund with the primary objective of creating a vehicle through which qualified Bahamian investors could invest in the company, and
(v) secured a £16 million Zero-coupon Facility, with £11mn remaining to be drawn (albeit this being a facility the company has indicated it has no present intention of using).
Given an anticipated cost of Perseverance #1 in the range of $24mn to $28mn, plus a contingency allowance of $7mn, and with approximately $5.3 million of costs already paid for (as at 31 October 2020) in respect of Perseverance #1, BPC presently expects that remaining cash outflows required to complete Perseverance #1 will be in the range of $19m – $23m (plus the $7mn contingency element). As at 31 October 2020 the company held cash resources of around $17.5mn, and (subject to satisfaction of conditions precedent, which BPC presently considers will occur) expects to receive a further approximately $20mn of funding from draw-down of the Conditional Convertible Note facility through December 2020 to February 2021, consistent with the funding and payments schedule for the Perseverance #1 well. As such, the company considers Perseverance #1 to be funded (subject as caveated below), and after meeting the costs for the drilling of Perseverance #1, BPC expects to have surplus cash in the range of $5mn to $15mn depending on the final cost outcome of the well.
This then forms the anticipated “opening balance” of funding available for the 2021 Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname work program, which is expected to commence from February 2021 onwards (i.e.: once Perseverance #1 operations in The Bahamas are substantially complete). As noted previously, this foresees a total capital expenditure for the base work program of up to $20mn, and up to approximately $35mn in a scenario where all developments are accelerated (as noted, in all cases subject to funding and rig availability, and permitting).
BPC notes that this funding is not required all at once or up front – it represents the total funding need spread out across the entirety of the Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname work program for all of 2021. Moreover, given BPC’s equity holdings and the discretionary nature of the investment, the company is able to control the pace, timing and extent of capital deployment in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.
As such, BPC intends to execute a funding strategy for the currently unfunded elements of its planned 2021 work program in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname not dissimilar to that developed and successfully executed in the period 2019-2020 for its drilling campaign in The Bahamas. The overall objectives are no different: (i) to secure multiple sources of funding, (ii) to develop flexible funding alternatives, given that the potential cost and timing of the wells might vary, (iii) to seek to match timing of funding inflows with timing of funding outflows, (iv) to balance the cost of funding with the need to secure funding certainty, (v) to achieve funding on the most advantageous terms possible, and (vi) to minimise overall dilution.
Similarly, in this regard, there are a number of potential sources of funding presently available to BPC for financing of the intended Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname 2021 work program, including:
– Residual funding on completion of Perseverance #1: as noted above, in the range of $5mn to $15mn (assuming full drawn down of the Conditional Convertible Note facility).
– Surplus cash-flows from operations: The Company expects to see cashflows available from production in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname as it brings production wells online, with surplus free cash flow potentially making a considerable contribution to ongoing capital and exploration expenditures. Depending on the level of production, prevailing oil prices, BPC could anticipate up to an incremental $10mn might be available.
– Reserve-based lending facilities: BPC has been approached by various financing providers requesting the Company to consider the suitability of an RBL facility against its 2P reserves. If successful up to $10mn could become available during 2021.
– “Drill for equity” type arrangements: Several options may be available to the company similar to that adopted previously by Columbus in Trinidad and Tobago.
– The Zero-coupon Facility, under which approximately £11.3mn remains available for draw-down albeit, the company has stated that it has no present intention to draw further on this facility, it remains there as an option.
– Farm-out options or similar transactions: Should, after completion of Perseverance #1, BPC consider diluting its interest in its project in The Bahamas then, in the March / April 2021 timeframe, a successful farm-out transaction would likely be of an amount sufficiently large to fund the anticipated Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname work program. Alternatively, exploration success in The Bahamas would likely provide the company with considerable excess funding capacity.
To the extent that any one, or a combination, of the above funding alternatives are successfully concluded on terms acceptable to the company, the amount of capital available to the company would likely materially increase, and would be additive to existing funding sources such that the company is confident that it will be able to meet the costs of the base Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname 2021 work program of up to $20mn, and potentially up to the $35mn required to pursue an accelerated development program (in all cases subject to permitting and rig availability).
In circumstances where neither the Conditional Convertible Note facility nor the Zero-coupon Facility are available (for example, where the conditions precedent set out in the Conditional Convertible Note Subscription Agreement are not satisfied or waived by the Subscribers), the company may not have sufficient cash to complete the drilling of the Perseverance #1 well and/or may not have sufficient cash to undertake the full scope of the work program planned for Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname in 2021. In such circumstances the company would look to secure funding by way of alternative sources, as detailed above. There can be no assurance, however, that the company would be successful in securing any such alternative funding.
Excluding any costs relating to the Perseverance #1 well, the company currently has sufficient cash available to meet general working capital needs for at least the next 12 months.
In accordance with the AIM Note for Mining and Oil & Gas Companies, BPC discloses that:
– Mr Stewart Easton, Director of ERCE, is the qualified person who has reviewed the technical information contained in this announcement pertaining to the Competent Person’s Report (CPR). Mr Easton is a post-graduate in Geology, a Fellow of the Geological Society and member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Mr Easton consents to the inclusion of the CPR information in the form and context in which it appears; and
– Mr Nathan Rayner, the Company’s Operations Director, is the qualified person who has reviewed the technical information contained in this announcement not specifically addressed in the Competent Person’s Report. He is a qualified Petroleum Engineer, a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and a member of the Institution of Engineers, Australia. He has over 20 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry. Nathan Rayner consents to the inclusion of the information in the form and context in which it appears.
The information communicated in this announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014.
ERCE carried out its work in accordance with the June 2018 SPE/WPC/AAPG/SPEE/SEG/SPWLA/EAGE Petroleum Resources Management System (PRMS) as the standard for classification and reporting, the full text of which can be downloaded from: https://secure.spee.org/sites/spee.org/files/prmgmtsystem_final_2018.pdf.