Australia’s Nido Petroleum eyes listing of RP operations

Australia’s Nido Petroleum eyes listing of RP operations

Nido Petroleum Philippines Ltd. plans to undertake an initial public offering (IPO) in the medium term to fund capital expenditures for future oil exploration in the Philippines, a top company official said.

David Whitby, managing director of Australia-based Nido Petroleum Ltd., told reporters on Friday that they are eyeing to eventually list their shares at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

”Strategically, it is an option for us to list in the Philippines. Coming in to the Philippine stock market is definitely an option and part of our future plan,” he said.

But Whitby said they do not expect the IPO to happen this year. ”It will not be this year. We are currently focused on our drilling activities.”

He pointed out would be best for the company to undertake the IPO once they have established a track record.

”We will have to decide on the IPO plans after we have done much with our drilling and oil production activities,” he said.

Joanne Williams, Nido Petroleum deputy managing director, said they may consider listing some 10 to 20 percent of their equity. ”We are still evaluating it. But that level could be an appropriate level,” she said.

On the other hand, Whitby said the entry of a strategic partner is also part of their options to intensify operations in the Philippines.

He said they are now holding serious talks with some big names in the oil production industry.

In his presentation on the company’s oil exploration ventures in the Philippines over the past 12 months, Whitby cited major international oil companies now positioning themselves in the country’s upstream oil industry. These include Exxon Mobil, Tap Oil Ltd., Chevron Texaco, Premier Oil, China National Oil, Japex and Petronas.

The Nido Petroleum executive said they would be willing to divest between 30 percent to half of their share in Nido Philippines.

Nido currently holds about 50-to 60- percent share each in three exploration projects in Palawan: Service Contract (SC) 58; SC 54 Northwest Palawan; and SC 68.

It also holds a 22.28-percent interest in Galoc (SC 14) in the Northwest Palawan basin. The company will invest $22 million for Galoc production. To date, it has spent $4 million for the said project.

Nido Philippines expects the first oil production in Galoc by the first quarter of 2008.

Based on company estimates, its first year pre-tax cash flow from Galoc would range from $40.1 million to $67.5 million.

The company is also pursuing exploration in SC 54. ”Nido is confident it will have a positive update on the Prinsesa lead once the additional 180 kilometers 3D seismic program is completed in the third quarter of 2007,” Nido head of exploration Jon Pattillo said.

SC 54 consortium partners Nido and Yilgarn Petroleum Philippines Pty. Ltd. acquired 640 sq km of 3D data as part of the Abukay survey between November 2006 and January 2007 using the MV Veritas ”˜Viking II’ vessel at a cost of $3.5 million while onshore processing of this data commenced last Jan. 8, 2007. SC 54 covers 540,000 hectares.

Earlier, Nido said it is expected to pour in some $36 million to develop oil and gas prospects in Northwest Palawan in the next three years.

Nido is headquartered in Perth, Western Australia and is listed at the Australian Stock Exchange.

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