Linc announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Linc Gulf Coast Petroleum Inc., has acquired 14 producing oil fields (consisting of 156 leases covering approximately 13,400 acres) from ERG Resources LLC., for a price of US $236 million. The acquisition secures immediate oil production of approximately 3,300 barrels per day (BOPD), and a significant CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) opportunity.
The 14 oil fields purchased from ERG Resources are located in Texas and Louisiana and are within the Gulf Coast Onshore and Inland Waters Regions and include all related infrastructure such as pipelines, tank batteries and processing facilities. All of the fields are either salt domes or faulted four-way closures related to deep-seated salt movement. Independent reports commissioned by Linc Energy indicate that the fields have the potential to increase recoverable oil by up to 24 million barrels by optimisation of current production and additional drilling operations.
Cumulative production for the 14 fields is estimated to be over 700 million barrels of oil to date with a regional recovery factor of approximately 40%, indicating a significant potential to achieve substantial increases in production from Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2 flooding).
All of the acquired fields in the asset package are 100% operated by ERG Resources, with ERG Resources also holding 100% of the working interest in the majority of the fields.
A significant factor regarding this acquisition is that ERG Resources has to date only advanced significant development into one area, the Barbers Hill salt dome, achieving some excellent results. There are 6 more salt domes in the asset package that Linc Energy can assess to drill and expand with similar techniques to those that ERG Resources has utilized on the Barbers Hill field.
Texas oil fields
12 of the fields are located along the Texas Gulf Coast and Texas inland waters areas. The majority of the value at this stage is attributed to 5 of the 12 fields, being Barbers Hill, High Island, Port Neches, Atkinson Island and Cedar Point. Linc Energy anticipates additional value being attributed to the remaining assets once further evaluation has been completed.
Louisiana oil fields
Portions of the Leeville Field and the Black Bayou fields are part of the ERG Resources assets in Louisiana. The majority of the immediate opportunity in Louisiana is in the 100% owned and operated Black Bayou field. This field is one area that Linc Energy plans to aggressively drill in the coming 12 to 24 months to build production.
Key terms of the Agreement
The key terms of the Asset Purchase Agreement between Linc Energy and ERG Resources are as follows:
To support this acquisition and future expansion plans in the USA Gulf Coast region, Linc Energy will be opening a new office in Houston, Texas prior to the transaction completion date. At completion, Linc Energy will become the employer of most of the experienced team of professionals (approximately 25 staff), covering both field and office operations, who are currently employed by ERG Resources. These arrangements will ensure continuity of operations on the oil fields immediately on handover.
While Linc Energy can fund this acquisition from cash, the Company has mandated RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland) to complete the financing to support both the ERG Resources asset acquisition and the first year of capital expenditure upon the ERG Resources (Gulf Coast) and the Rancher (Wyoming) assets to support Linc Energy's development plans. This debt financing will have minimal recourse to Linc Energy and the financing process is well underway. Under the current financing proposal, Linc Energy will provide approximately 25% of the capital.
Peter Bond, Chief Executive Officer of Linc Energy, said, "This acquisition is the next big necessary step that Linc Energy has taken to meet its two key business targets over the coming 12 to 18 months. The first of these targets is to achieve in excess of 20,000 barrels per day of oil production by the end of 2012, with at least 10,000 barrels of production by the end of 2011. The second key target for the Company, supported directly by achieving this first target, is to develop very profitable, solid cash flows from operations."
"Linc Energy has a number of excellent assets and will continue to acquire more. These assets will be systematically developed over the coming years, but to support the Company's long-term strategic plans, Linc Energy needs to focus on developing strong operational revenues that can support our growth. The reality is, Linc Energy can gain a permit to drill an oil well in days or at most a few weeks; we can then drill those oil wells similarly within weeks, meaning the time difference from project commitment to cash flow can literally be a few months. If I dare compare that timetable with the years of effort it takes to gain a permit on a coal mine or a GTL facility, you get the picture pretty quickly why it's necessary for the Company to be dynamic in its approach and to focus upon our immediate entrepreneurial targets and produce strong cash flows."
"Linc Energy's strategic plans have resulted in the Company gradually re-focusing its energies over the past several months, shifting its long term focus into three distinct areas covering our short, medium and long term goals. We are building the Company on 3 distinct fronts in Oil & Gas, Coal & Clean Coal and Clean Fuel & Clean Energy. On the Oil & Gas front, we are pursuing oil production assets that yield immediate revenue and profits. We are targeting assets that have the potential to increase production initially with aggressive drilling and workover campaigns, whilst also providing excellent long term opportunity to multiply our returns with Enhanced Oil Recovery from CO2 flooding that in some cases can last 10 to 20 years. This philosophy positions Linc Energy to obtain solid cash returns in the short term and yet keep those assets profitable and growing for many years to come."
"This ERG Resources asset package is a great example of what I'm saying. First, we already have good daily oil production of approximately 3,300 barrels per day, which is currently cash flow positive. Secondly there is a clear drilling and workover plan in place which is anticipated to effectively double this production to over 6,300 barrels per day in the next 12 to 18 months, improving cash flows and increasing the value of the assets."
"Finally, Linc Energy expects to use about 75% debt funding to purchase the ERG Resources assets. I've always run Linc Energy as a low to no debt company. However, my philosophy with ERG Resources and assets like them is that you borrow on cash flow positive assets that have the capability to comfortably pay their own debt down, minimizing the risk, whilst leveraging the upside opportunity. Simply put, because Linc Energy is buying cash flow positive oil production assets which we believe can easily cover their respective debt arrangements; and because we expect to increase oil production in the short-term from these oil assets, we can lower real cost and risk of funding. Combine all of this with the strong Australian dollar and suddenly it makes perfect sense to debt fund these assets."
"Personally, I strongly believe that Linc Energy can grow to greater than 100,000 barrels of oil per day production within the next 5 years, and I'm pleased to say this ERG Resources acquisition is the first BIG step towards that very goal, whilst also ticking another Linc Energy milestone. As always I look forward to updating you on the journey ahead. There will be a lot to keep up with, because there is now a lot of traction in the business," Mr Bond said.
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