Thank you for your time and interest in ERHC Energy. I am David Bovell, vice president corporate development of the company. We have an exciting company that is doing exciting things, and I expect you will find this time well spent. Before we get started…
Statements during this meeting may concern ERHC Energy Inc.’s future operating milestones. Such statements are subject to a variety of risks, assumptions and uncertainties. Please refer to our cautionary statements in your print-outs and posted on the ERHC Energy Web site at www.erhc.com.
I am proud to introduce you to ERHC Energy.
ERHC is based in North America’s energy capital, Houston, Texas. We are publicly traded on NASDAQ’s Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board exchange. Our stock ticker is ERHE.
We are here today to discuss two things: First, we will describe ERHC’s valuable oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Guinea. Second, we will explain our strategy for accelerated growth, which involves acquisitions and opportunities for new business relationships.
What makes ERHC different from many other small cap companies is that we are operating from a position of strength in many key areas. We have a sound business strategy and a successful record of implementing that strategy to great effect. We are in a strong financial position with strong, stable leadership. We have world class assets and long-term formal relationships with respected industry leaders.
In these are challenging economic times, you can’t over-state the importance of operating from a position of strength. While others face uncertainty, ERHC can capitalize in this environment to accelerate growth.
ERHC’s strategy is not complicated. More than a decade ago, the company made a breakthrough in an undervalued and under-appreciated part of the world. After years of hard work, we now have a strong strategic foothold in the Gulf of Guinea that is the envy of the oil and gas industry. Through our strategic alliances with industry leaders, we are now at a point where the value of these assets is about to be realized.
And, as we ready for exploration of our assets in the Gulf of Guinea to begin, we are taking that blueprint and pursuing other discoveries in parts of the world others either have overlooked or are afraid to venture into.
As I mentioned, we are implementing this strategy from a position of financial strength that not only effectively insulates ERHC from the credit crunch but also positions the company to prosper as other companies falter.
We operate a very lean company. Total expenses in the past four quarter were less than 4.5 million dollars. Our latest financial report showed cash assets totaled more than 32 million dollars and our debt is less than 35 thousand dollars.
We anticipate that this strong financial position will create opportunities.
In fact, the Wall Street Journal featured a story earlier this month that predicted a “big shakeout” in our industry as cash-strapped exploration and production companies scramble to find sources of revenue. It is good to be in a position of strength when others seeking help. I can tell you this: we are getting our calls returned!
A big reason we are in this position is that we are not a start-up or even a young company. ERHC has been operating in the oil and gas arena for decades. In the mid 1990s the company moved into the exploration and production marketplace and started accumulating assets. In 2001, we began trading of the OTC. Our stock remains in strong hands, with more than 50 percent held by insiders who share our long-term vision for ERHC. Our market cap is (213 million dollars as of October 8th).
We also have strong, stable leadership running the company. Peter Ntephe, our chief operating officer and acting CEO, is an expert in corporate governance and has been with ERHC since 2001; I am an expert in corporate finance; Jim Ledbetter has been guiding exploration and production efforts around the world for more than 25 years; and Sylvan Odobulu is a tight fisted operator. I am trying to figure out how I will explain my travel expenses for this trip to him!
Our board of directors plays an active role in guiding ERHC’s strategy. It includes experts in foreign affairs and diplomacy, oil and gas, and accounting. Through their leadership, we promote strong ethical conduct to ensure that we conduct business in the best interest of shareholders and maintain absolute integrity and transparency.
Now I am excited to discuss our world class oil and gas assets. So where is this oil?
It is here off the coast of central West Africa in an area known as the Gulf of Guinea. To give you a sense of perspective, you see the United States here with nothing but the Atlantic Ocean in between. This clear passage to North America is a strategic advantage for oil production in the Gulf of Guinea.
In a nutshell, there are two adjacent areas in the Gulf of Guinea in which ERHC Energy has interests. One is the Joint Development Zone and the other is the Sao Tome & Principe Exclusive Economic Zone. We’ll describe each in more detail in a moment, but suffice it to say, we have succeeded in gaining a significant presence throughout the region.
My family has a long history in the continent of Africa and I have great affinity for this region and high hopes for its people. The oil and gas industry will be very important in helping economies throughout the region blossom for generations to come.
What you see in this image tells you everything you need to know about why this is such a highly prospective oil and gas region. Over millions of years, the Niger Delta deposited organic sediment into the Gulf of Guinea that became crude oil. The Niger Delta has estimated proven oil reserves of 48 billion barrels.
These islands you see here – especially here in Sao Tome and Principe – are actually the tips of volcanoes that jut up from the floor of the Gulf. Until the past decade, few realized how promising the deep water surrounding Sao Tome and Principe could be. ERHC was among the first to recognize its oil and gas potential.
To provide a sense of perspective, these are several of the offshore oil and gas discoveries in areas just to the north of where ERHC has interests. They range in size from a half billion barrels to a billion barrels of oil.
Here is where the Joint Development Zone and the Sao Tome and Principe Exclusive Economic Zone are situated. The JDZ lies between Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe and is being jointly developed by the two nations under a United Nations charter.
ERHC has rights in six of the nine JDZ Blocks. This chart shows the original participating interest that was awarded, the portion ERHC sold in 2006 to bring in strategic partners and generate working capital, and ERHC’s current interest:
• Block 2: 22%
• Block 3: 10%
• Block 4: 19.5%
• Block 5: 15%
• Block 6: 15%
• Block 9: 20%
The experts have analyzed what lies below the Gulf waters and they estimate that the combined recoverable reserves potential through the Joint Development Zone Blocks totals 14.4 billion barrels.
In composite, when you consider all nine JDZ Blocks, ERHC’s rights make up about 12 percent of the JDZ interests that have been awarded to date. The fact that our rights stretch across six of the nine JDZ Blocks gives us some degree of diversification in the event that some Blocks prove to be more prospective than other.
In the near-term, our focus is on three JDZ Blocks that are very close to the start of exploration. Here you see a 3-D seismic image of the first portion of the JDZ that will be explored. Moving left to right, you see the Lemba Prospect in JDZ Block 3 where Anadarko Petroleum is the operator and ERHC has a 10 percent working interest. Our technical partner, Addax Petroleum, estimates that Block 3 has 270 million barrels of oil. Next to it is JDZ Block 4, which most experts believe is the most prospective of all the JDZ Blocks. ERHC has a 19.5 percent working interest in Block 4. The operator is Addax, which estimates the Block has more than 1.1 billion barrels of oil. Then on the right side of this image, North and East of the other Blocks, is JDZ Block 2. We have a 22 percent working interest. Our technical partner, Sinopec, is the operator and Addax estimates that Block 2 has more than 430 million barrels of oil.
I want to emphasize that these are estimates and, based on improved information, these estimates continue to be refined. But these estimates offer a general sense of the massive scale of the opportunity there.
To give you more insight into why we are excited, this is a view of the Kina Prospect in JDZ Block 4, which will be the first JDZ Block in which ERHC has an interest to be explored. This seismic image is from the side showing the different layers of sediment and rock beneath the Gulf of Guinea – about one mile under water. This hump-like formation you see here is generally recognized as a sign of oil and gas prospectivity. Oil and gas are lighter than water and the upward pressure against the rock and sediment over tens of thousands of years has formed these humps.
Fortunately, drilling is very close. The operators of at least two – and perhaps three – of the JDZ Blocks have indicated that drilling is expected to commence in 2009.
A typical question is: “How does ERHC plan to pay its share of exploration and production costs?”
It was something we labored over before reaching a win-win-win solution back in 2005. We entered into advantageous strategic partnerships that align us with experienced exploration and production companies willing to pay our portion of the upfront costs. We will reimburse our partners for our share of the costs from ERHC’s share of the oil. Our partners win because they gained access to the JDZ, ERHC wins because it keeps upfront expenses to a minimum and manages risks, and everyone associated with JDZ wins with the involvement and stewardship of experienced exploration and production companies.
I don’t want to finish our discussion about ERHC’s world class assets without further acknowledging our interests in the Sao Tome and Principe EEZ. Exploration of this area is further out in the future, but it is important to note ERHC’s significant interests: ERHC has the right to acquire 100 percent working interest in two blocks of its choice in the EEZ, subject to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe reserving three blocks of its choice. There are no signature bonuses to be paid on these two blocks. ERHC additionally has the right to acquire 15 percent working interest in any two blocks of its choice in the EEZ and would pay its proportionate share of signature bonus on these two blocks.
This is an opportunity we will continue to work toward in the coming decade.
As I said earlier, ERHC has entered into strategically advantageous partnerships with industry leaders. ERHC has a production sharing contract with Addax Petroleum for JDZ Blocks 2, 3 and 4. Addax is among the largest oil and gas producers in West Africa. Addax is the operator in JDZ Block 4 and, as is the case with ERHC, Addax has a strong foothold throughout the JDZ.
ERHC also has a production sharing contract with Sinopec in JDZ Block 2. Sinopec is also known as China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation. Sinopec is China’s second largest crude oil producer. It is the operator of JDZ Block 2.
Selling participating interests to Addax and Sinopec in fiscal year 2006 injected more than $45 million into ERHC. This is enough for ERHC to sustain years of operations and position the company to capitalize on opportunities. Entering into production sharing contracts in Blocks 2, 3 and 4 was an important step toward commercializing the Company’s interests in the JDZ and increasing shareholder value.
In each of these three JDZ Blocks, the only thing standing in the way of exploration is the limited availability of deepwater rigs. Otherwise, drilling locations are approved, budgets are set and equipment is ready.
Those who are familiar with the offshore drilling market may be aware that there has been a worldwide shortage of deepwater rigs. Our technical partners have been in advanced negotiations and are hoping to secure a rig to begin exploration in early 2009. Beyond that, we are hopeful that the challenging credit environment may loosen up the rig shortage and provide for greater flexibility in the future.
Looking toward the second half of 2009, our technical partners expect to take possession of the deepwater drill ship Aban Abraham. We expect the Aban Abraham will be very active in JDZ Blocks 2 and 4 in late 2009 and into 2010.
Recognizing that first oil is at least three to five years away, we are not taking a “wait and see” approach. We are pushing forward aggressively with an initiative to accelerate growth by duplicating what we have been able to accomplish in the Gulf of Guinea…
Our strategy is to acquire revenue-producing assets in diverse geographic areas. Further, we are seeking new strategic alliances and business partnerships that can provide synergies and strategically complement our existing operations and assets.
Specifically, we are seeking acquisition opportunities that leverage ERHC’s technical and geographic expertise in energy, minerals and other natural resources. While we are mindful of our strengths in West Africa, we are assessing opportunities in a number of strategic areas.
In closing, we can say with confidence that we are closer than ever to beginning exploration in the Gulf of Guinea and expect that by this time next year exploration will be underway – possibly in two of the JDZ Blocks in which ERHC has interests…with a third not far behind.
And we will also be executing our strategy to replicate these successes elsewhere – discovering undervalued assets in parts of the world others have failed to recognize and efficiently bringing them to market. That is our core competency.
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce you to ERHC Energy Inc. I would be happy to entertain any questions.
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