Empire announced on Friday, September 3rd, 2010, that after consultation and coordination with the Company's drilling contractors and GEFCO, the rig's manufacturer, and through their renewed confidence in Empire's financial strength obtained through diversification and anticipated bond sales, Empire has scheduled recommencement of its 12-hole drilling program.
GEFCO's Vice President of International Sales, Art Kliewer, commented, "GEFCO is confident in continuing our long-term relationship with Empire Energy and are working with Empire on the coordination and purchase of all ancillary equipment to accompany their new Speedstar 1100 drilling rig. We are excited for the Company and its shareholders as we prepare shipment to Australia of the new rig and its components in the very near future."
Once the rig has completed construction and shipment, Empire's drilling contractors have agreed to be mobilized to the Bellevue site by mid-November to embark on a summer (Australian summer, US winter) drilling program.
Empire has secured the engagement to complete the prerequisite requirements for the structured finance, estimated to cost $12 million. This was accomplished through the oversubscription of the Company's rights offering, which closed last month. These commitments are anticipated to cover the expenses associated with the $180 million financial structuring. Included in this statement of charges are the fees associated with the preparation and issuance of a prospectus for principally protected notes, the purchase of an insurance policy to enhance the rating and quality of these notes, the fees incurred to have the notes rated by an internationally accredited rating agency, the costs related to the placement of the notes with investors as well as management fees for the above Bermuda-based management services.
Subject to the notes being completed and placed, the Company expects to be able to begin drawing down on the $180 million in $45-million-per-year tranches for four consecutive years in the coming months, as the terms of a joint venture with a specific Gulf–based oil company evolve.
Empire is engaged in negotiations with Mineral Resources Tasmania in regards to 10 structures worth over $1 billion, of its original EL14/2009 license application that were not granted to the Company. Great South Land Minerals (GSLM) had a cordial meeting with the Tasmanian Minister of Energy and Resources, the Hon. Bryan Green, who aided in creation of GSLM's previously successful works program which led to the discovery of Empire's 12 structures currently valued at $3.3 billion, as well as with key Government personnel to openly discuss these disputed EL14/2009 claims and Empire's financial structuring deal. The Company noted that the Government has expressed willingness to consider acknowledgement of any instrument that may be required to facilitate implementation of the securitization requirements associated with the structured finance deal. Both Companies look forward to continuing the positive interactive relationship with Mr. Green and the Government in completion of the Company's finance deal and drilling its 12 structures discovered with world-class seismic, geological and geophysical surveys.
During the past few months, Empire has focused on developing its financial strength through a partnership for $180 million of structured finance as well as diversifying the Company's short-term revenue streams with the strategic reacquisition of Grand Monarch Holdings. With the addition of an experienced team of financially, legally and politically well-versed businessmen to Empire's Board and Advisory Board, including Mr. Mark Cowan, Mr. James Leach and Mr. David Villarreal III, led by Mr. David Villarreal Jr. as the new Chairman-elect, Empire has never been closer to the long-waited realization of its $3.3 billion undiscovered prospective valuation and the discovery and commercialization of the in-ground $50 billion of oil and gas in the Tasmania basin.
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