By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor A BAHAMAS-based oil exploration company is "most definitely" seeking to list on the local stock market this year via a Bahamian Depository Receipt (BDR) offering, its chief executive yesterday describing the data quality from its 3D seismic survey of this nation's waters as "excellent". Simon Potter told Tribune Business the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) wanted to list on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) "sooner rather than later", the aim being to give Bahamians an opportunity to participate in any upside the company may generate. That could be considerable if BPC finds commercial quantities of oil in its Bahamian licence areas that prove extractable, although determining that is some way off yet. The company is currently analysing 3D data from a 3,000 square kilometre area of the Bahamian seabed, with the findings "critical" to the location of its first well, which has to be drilled by March 2013. BPC's BISX listing is likely to be the third BDR offering in the Bahamian market. The first was Kerzner International's, which was subsequently delisted after the Atlantis and One & Only Ocean Club owner went private in 2006, leaving Consolidated Water as the only survivor. The BDR is a derivative linked to trading of the stock on its main board exchange, and the pricing at the start/close of trading there each day. BPC's main board is London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), and the company will have to work with BISX and its Bahamian investment banking advisers to determine the price of the BDRs, and how they will be linked to AIM. "We obviously have the direction, the BDR option, and we're progressing that," Mr Potter told Tribune Business yesterday. When asked if BPC planned to list on BISX this year, he replied: "Most definitely. Obviously sooner rather than later would be our preference. There's nothing we see that ought to hold us up, other than paperwork and complying with the necessary regulations." No dollar figure has been attached to the collective worth of the BDRs that BPC plans to make available to Bahamian institutional and retail investors, but Mr Potter said capital raising was not the main goal of a BISX listing, given that the company currently has more than $30 million in cash-on-hand. "What is the rationale here? The rationale is to have the ability for Bahamians to invest in the company, and participate in any appreciation from capital growth over the course of the years," the BPC chief executive explained. "The important thing is that we're well funded. There's not a capital target we're looking for. It's not tapping up the Bahamian stock market. It's just a facility Bahamians can enjoy for investing in this company. "We've got over $30 million in the bank at the moment, and that's after spending $36 million on acquiring the 3D seismic data. Even after we've done all we've undertaken to do in 2012, we should have got $20 million in the bank. "For an exploration company in the current climate, we're in a very good position. For an exploration company out to look for capital or going to the markets, it's kind of a lean time at the moment. The fact we don't have to do that is very good for us." BPC's nature means that it will be more of a speculative investment for Bahamian investors, as there is no guarantee that it will find commercial quantities of oil in this nation's waters, despite early promise. Yet, if its hopes pan out, the returns could be considerable. Initial processing of BPC's 3D seismic data has been completed, the company describing the data quality as "excellent", with data volumes "received in time and depth". Analysis of that data is now underway, in a bid to select the best location to design, plan and drill BPC's first well. "It's obviously critical," Mr Potter said yesterday of the 3D data assessment. "This is the data set that will allow us to pick a well location, and do well planning and well design for the well we plan to drill." The 3D data analysis will run into the 2012 second quarter, and will enable BPC to define rock types on the Bahamian seabed and how they were "laid down". "When you spend $36 million on acquiring 3D data, it'll be germane to future decision-making," Mr Potter told Tribune Business. "The data quality is excellent, and it's generally reinforcing the conclusions we got from the 2D data." BPC is assessing a 3,000 square kilometre "cube" of data, and its chief executive said: "How long is a piece of string? I could continue to play tunes for a long time. It's a very wide area, and gives us a great opportunity to get a range of potential well sites. We'll pick a number, assess them and then pick one." Mr Potter said BPC was continuing to negotiate with potential joint venture partners for its first well.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment