Melbana Energy (ASX:MAY) - key milestones achieved at its Cuban, Block 9 - World Class Exploration Acreage

Interviews

by Melissa Darmawan

Melbana Energy Limited (ASX:MAY) Executive Chairman Andrew Purcell provides an update on the company's key Cuban onshore oil project, including preparation for its two exploration well program scheduled for Q3 2021 and its sale of WA-488-P permit (containing the Beehive Prospect) to a wholly owned Australian subsidiary of the US company EOG Resources, Inc (NYSE:EOG).

Melissa Darmawan: Hello. Melissa Darmawan for the Finance News Network. Joining me from Melbana Energy (ASX:MAY) is Executive Chairman Andrew Purcell. Andrew, nice to meet you and welcome back to the network.

Andrew Purcell: Thank you, Mel. It's good to be here.

Melissa Darmawan: It's good to have you. First up, can you tell us a bit about the company and its key focus?

Andrew Purcell: We're an ASX-listed oil and gas explorer. We have been for 20+ years, and we've done a lot of exciting things in that time. We have a very good geoscience team, and added with some commercial experience that I bring in transactions, together we've been able to do transactions with some very significant oil and gas companies over the past few years. Santos (ASX:STO), Total, the national oil companies of Cuba and Angola, and now EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG). So, for a little company, we're, I think, fair to say, punching well above our weight, identifying big, exciting prospects, bringing in good partners, giving our shareholders a crack at something quite transformative if it should happen.

Melissa Darmawan: Can you give us an update on your key exploration project in Cuba?

Andrew Purcell: Well, it's been a busy few months for us. We have been buying lots of gear and shipping people into the country. And so, the project management team is in place. The physical work on the civil works for the construction of well pads is done for the first pad, starting on the second pad. And we've got boats travelling across the Pacific and the Atlantic filled with equipment for the program. So, it's very full on at the moment, very exciting.

Melissa Darmawan: And in preparation for the drilling in the third quarter, your team in Cuba has expanded, including adding a second office. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Andrew Purcell: We have an operational office now set up in a town called Varadero. We always had the admin office in Havana to be near to the regulators, but a lot of the contract providers, a lot of the materials providers and equipment providers, they have their offices in Varadero, and our operational site is very close to Varadero. So, we've opened a second office there. It's also a big resort town in Cuba, so I don't think the guys mind too much.

Melissa Darmawan: And, Andrew, you've had some exciting news in regards to a sale of a permit to -- Timor Sea, southwest of Darwin -- to a US company called EOG Resources. Tell us about that.

Andrew Purcell: That's a great development for us. This is a prospect that our geoscience team identified and has championed for a long time. It's a very special play type in Australia. Not one that's been tested here before, but overseas and around the world where these types of prospects have been tested and when they have worked, they've worked big. So, we've got a prospective resource of 400 million barrels. It could be as big as 1.6 billion barrels. But the trick is always getting somebody to come and pay for drilling the well. And we're very, very happy to have a company of the calibre, expertise and capacity of EOG Resources enter the country to drill this well. And they're hoping to do so as early as next year. So, this could be a very transformative prospect for Australia.

Melissa Darmawan: Last question. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Andrew Purcell: Well, I think now that we've got a runway of four wells for our shareholders, it makes Melbana Energy a very exciting energy stock. We've got the two wells in Cuba that are starting soon, both funded, both with a good partner. So, nothing more to be put in there. We have this well now with EOG Resources being drilled next year, of which we have an interest, if it's successful. Nothing more for Melbana to pay there. And lately we just announced another small interest in a well by Santos and Sapura up in the Ashmore Cartier region, where we also have a small contingent interest in a well being drilled there next year. So, four wells being drilled, no more money needed from shareholders, all happening over the next 6 to 18 months. It makes our stock a very interesting little play for a part of a resources portfolio, I think.

Melissa Darmawan: Andrew Purcell, thanks for the update, and I look forward to hearing from you more regularly.

Andrew Purcell: Thank you, and I look forward to coming back with good news, I hope, about our drilling successes in Cuba soon.


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