19 September 2017
Petro Matad Limited
("Petro Matad" or the "Company")
Operational Update and Board Change
Petro Matad, the AIM quoted Mongolian oil explorer is providing an operational update:
• The Farmout process has advanced, and a number of potential partners are going through internal approval processes, with decisions expected in 4Q 2017 or 1Q 2018.
• Management, as well as all potential farm out partners, believes that a 3D seismic programme will enhance the farmout process, while de-risking and growing our portfolio of drillable prospects.
• A comprehensive 3D seismic programme will now commence shortly; defining and high grading drilling targets within the Tugrug Basin, Block V. Additional 2D seismic data will also be acquired
• The Company has no plans to draw down further from its current financing facility, as its 3D seismic programme is fully funded
• The contracted SINOPEC rig has been undergoing inspection and certification, and while this process is still ongoing, the rig will not achieve full certification in time to undertake the planned drilling programme in 2017
• An expected three-well exploration drilling programme is planned to commence in Spring 2018
• The Board is re-structuring the executive management of the company
Funding / Farmout
The farmout process continues and a number of companies remain in active dialogue with management. These potential partners appear to be more willing to fund a strategy where additional seismic is acquired before a drilling campaign is undertaken. Several potential farminees have expressed a clear preference to de-risk certain prospects in the Tugrug basin using 3D seismic and better defining a number of stratigraphic 'leads' that have so far only been identified on 2D seismic data. They may also be better positioned to farm-in once their 2018 exploration budgets have been established, which could occur as early 4Q 2017. The Company remains optimistic with regards to bringing in a farm-in partner, as without exception, every company that has reviewed the opportunity has responded with very enthusiastic comments regarding the hydrocarbon potential of the licences.
As the Company is fully funded for its current seismic work program, it has no plans to make further drawdowns from its finance facility.
The 3D seismic campaign will be focused on the Tugrug basin, in Block V and high graded drilling targets within this basin. The 3D seismic will also, help identify stratigraphic traps which have significant potential in analogous basins such as the Vandana discovery in the Barmer Basin, India and the Sea Lion field in the North Falkland Basin; both having multi billion barrels of oil in place.
Additional 2D seismic will be shot to high-grade several other basins to add more drillable prospects to the Company's growing prospect inventory. The decision to acquire 2D seismic data over several new basins is again influenced by feedback from potential farminees, who have expressed interest in these areas as potential future exploration targets.
Drilling Campaign - Irves-1 (Snow Leopard)
Snow Leopard's target depth of 3150 meters will represent the deepest well ever drilled in Mongolia. As such, considerable time has been spent by Petro Matad to ensure that it has a rig capable of delivering the defined drilling programme, conducting it safely and in full compliance with international standards. The Sinopec rig that was contracted to undertake the planned drilling programme has been undergoing extensive inspection and certification at its current location in Block 97, Mongolia. Under the contract the rig was required to be fully certified, and the well spudded by 15 September 2017. Whilst Sinopec are still in the process of obtaining certification, this work will not be completed before October 2017, and as a consequence there will be insufficient time to mobilise the rig and complete the drilling programme before winter conditions set in. As Sinopec have been unable to fulfil their contractual obligations, Petro Matad has served a notice of default on Sinopec and has entered into discussions with Sinopec on potential remedies. Depending on the outcome of these discussions, the Company will either terminate the contract and issue a new tender for a 3-well programme commencing in the first half of 2018, or continue with Sinopec as drilling contractor, in the event the rig is certified and adequate concessions are obtained.
While it was not the desired outcome, this postponement of the drilling programme will, however, allow Petro Matad to enhance its drilling portfolio via the acquisition of a 2D and 3D seismic programme, which is set to begin shortly. While the reason for delaying the drilling programme is related to the preparedness of the rig, it does also serve to improve the position of the Company with respect to a potential farmout. These potential partners have expressed a preference to participate in a multi well drilling program next year and to provide input into target selection and the order of drilling. A back to back multi well program in one season would also significantly reduce our drilling costs.
The Board of Petro Matad is implementing a strategy to re-structure the company's executive management to bring onboard senior executives with proven operational and commercial track record. Petro Matad has significant milestones to deliver on concluding the farm out, carrying out a multi well drilling campaign in 2018 and executing a multi year exploration and development work program. Mr Ridvan Karpuz, CEO will be stepping down from his position in mid-October and continue thereafter as a technical consultant. The search for a successor has already been initiated and is progressing well.
The Company is pleased to announce the hiring of Nick Cousyn as Chief Communications Officer, who will lead our Public and Investor Relations effort. Mr. Cousyn brings with him 18 years of public markets experience and has spent the last 5 years in Mongolia as BDSec JSC's Chief Operating Officer. His focus over the last 5 years has been in Capital Markets, M&A and Corporate Advisory.
Enkhmaa Davaanyam, Chairman of Petro Matad, commented:
"Good progress has been made on discussions with a number of potential farm-in partners and it is very reassuring that all the companies have responded favourably to the technical potential and scale of our licences.
While we are disappointed not to be able to drill in 2017, the opportunity to high grade additional drilling targets ahead of a rescheduled 3-well drilling campaign in Spring 2018 is clearly beneficial to the long-term value potential of the business and our ability to secure a farm-in partner.
I would like to thank Ridvan for his hard work and significant contribution to Petro Matad and wish him well in his future endeavours. We have initiated a search process for a new CEO and we are already progressing well and I look forward to updating the market once the candidate is in place."
For more information, please contact:
Petro Matad Limited
Enkhmaa Davaanyam, Chairman
John Henriksen, CFO
NOMAD and Broker
Stockdale Securities Limited
Richard Johnson / David Coaten
+44 (0)20 7601 6100
Business Advisory Firm
Edward Westropp +44 (0)20 3727 1521
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014 (MAR).
About Petro Matad
Petro Matad is the parent company of a group focussed on oil exploration, as well as future development and production in Mongolia. At the current time, Petro Matad holds the sole operatorship of three Production Sharing Contracts with the Government of Mongolia. Block XX has an area of 10,340 km² in the far eastern part of the country, and Blocks IV and V have an area of 28,900 km2 and 21,100 km2, respectively, in the southwest part of the country.
Petro Matad Limited is incorporated in the Isle of Man under company number 1483V. Its registered office is at Victory House, Prospect Hill, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1EQ.