Q&A interview with Canadian Overseas Petroleum Ltd.
, Stock Forum
) President & CEO Arthur Millholland
Tell me about Canadian Overseas Petroleum and why should our audience be interested in the company?
The company is a participant in one of the most exciting offshore exploration plays of 2014. Offshore Liberia has been highlighted by the super-majors as one of the key conventional targets they have. COPL has partnered with Exxon Mobil to drill a well this year that will be targeting billions of barrels as the primary target.
In addition the COPL team has expanded its operations into Nigeria as it is putting its extensive development experience to work. High impact exploration projects balanced against appraisal and development projects that will be build a sustainable oil company that shareholders will want to be a part of.
One doesn’t typically hear very much about the oil and gas industry in Liberia. Why did you choose to enter this country?
The West African Transform Margin is one of the greatest offshore play types that is being pursued by the oil industry today. Many, for longest time, relegated it to myth and superstition. All of this changed with a string of discoveries from Ghana to Sierra Leone that proved this was a very active and lucrative oil basin. When the COPL team became aware of an opportunity to bid for the LB-13 asset it wasted no time in submitting a bid. Management recognized that it was a once in a lifetime chance to be a part of an asset that could be part of something very important to the industry. We did not seek out the country of Liberia we followed the geology. In doing so COPL has been able to provide its shareholders with access to a very significant drilling campaign.
How did the joint venture with ExxonMobil come about?
When COPL was announced as the successful bidder of the LB-13 asset it was apparent that we would require a partner to work with us to execute a world class drilling campaign on such an impressive geologic target. Exxon Mobil was selected in the fall of 2011 and our partnership has been extremely successful to date.
When do you expect to begin drilling on the Liberian property?
Drilling activity in Liberia will be very active this year. In the block adjacent to us Chevron has commenced drilling on LB-12. This is a follow-up from their earlier drilling campaign in the area. Industry is very keenly watching to see the results of this impressive mobilization of brand new drillship. Our drilling campaign is currently planned to commence after Chevron completes its operations. The next few months will be very active in Liberia as Anadarko has also given indication they will be drilling in Liberia this year as well.
I understand that you are pursuing other opportunities in West Africa, can you tell us about this?
Nigeria has been a focus of our business development for some time now. We are excited about the opportunities that we are currently evaluating. A key piece to the development of our Nigeria strategy has been the relationships that we have in Nigeria. Our in-country partners have been outstanding to work with. Their professionalism and commitment to build sustainable indigenous energy companies has been extremely well received. Nigeria represents for the COPL management a key area for growth and sustainability going forward.
Tell us about the Company’s decision to pursue listing on the London Stock Exchange?
The London markets have historically had an affinity for growth companies focused on African projects. We viewed the expansion of a secondary listing in London as a way of broadening our reach for capital, liquidity and information. As COPL continues to grow in a world that is economically converging we wanted to position COPL on the world stage as significant exploration and production company that can garner the attention of investors world wide.
So it sounds as though 2014 should be an exciting year for your Company. Please elaborate.
COPL will be participating in very transformational activities this year; the drilling of a billion barrel prospect in Liberia and the expansion into Nigerian development assets. It is not often that you come across a convergence of activities in a company’s calendar that has multiple value creation events. We are glad to see the hard work of our dedicated staff and support of shareholders come together in such a significant way.
Arthur Millholland – P. Geol
Mr. Millholland has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Overseas Petroleum since August 2009, and has been a professional geologist for 30 years. He has worked in a variety of regions including the UK North Sea, Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, the United States, South America, and West and North Africa. He is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Disclosure: Canadian Overseas Petroleum is a Stockhouse client.