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Columbus Energy moves ahead with Saffron prospect


The oiler is planning to drill one well at Saffron initially, but up to five are planned in the longer term


Quick facts: Columbus Energy Resources PLC

Price: 1.25 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £10.91 m


  • Columbus Energy has operations in Trinidad and Suriname

  • Spudded Saffron prospect at SWP in October 

  • Entered a PSC in Suriname with state oil group



How is it doing


Oil sales totalled 92,154 barrels for the six months to June, up 3.7% from the same period last year.

The daily rate averaged 561 bopd albeit in the month of February it peaked at 1,019 bopd.

Columbus described it as a ‘solid production base’ and noted that operationally it encountered technical challenges during the period.

In Trinidad, five operating fields (Goudron, Bonasse, Icacos, Inniss Trinity and South Erin) generate cash to cover operating costs.

Net revenue amounted to £3.4mln which was down from the £3.6mln a year earlier.

Losses of £1.72mln narrowed from a £2.46mln loss in the first half of 2018 it ended June with £1.05mln of cash in hand.


Next steps in Trinidad

Columbus has a detailed work programme scheduled for the 2019-2021 period,

In late-October, the company confirmed it had spudded the Saffron prospect, located in South West Peninsula, after having received Ministry approval.

The group said it expects to advance to drilling with the 8½ inch pilot hole, adding that the well will take approximately 30-45 days to complete and evaluate.

Columbus recently updated the prospectivity for the Saffron target, with the estimate of average oil in the Lower Cruse increased to 77mln barrels from 66mmbbl while recoverable volumes went up to 11.5mmbbl from 10mmbbl.

One well is planned at first and 3-5 over the longer term.

The South Erin development has potential for further expansion, as only 10% of the block has been explored to date, with infill drilling ready to go.

The producing Snowcap field, holding 1mln boe, is currently awaiting licences to start with Phase 1 of appraisal and development.

Columbus was given an extra boost in early November when it unveiled a US$4.5mln funding agreement with investment manager Lind Partners to speed up the drilling of the Saffron well as well as technical and operational activities for its Weg Naar Zee licence in Suriname.

In December it drew an additional US$1.5mln under a funding agreement with investment manager Lind Partners for the Saffron well.


Expansion in South America

In October, Columbus entered into a 25-year production sharing contract onshore Suriname at Weg Naar Zee, a block owned by state oil firm Staatsolie.

The Weg Naar Zee project area spans some 900 square kilometres and includes both discovered resources and remaining exploration potential.

It is host to some 24mln barrels of discovered resources, with estimated recoverable quantities between 4mln and 10mln.

Historic exploration took place in 1968, between 1989 and 1991, then more recently between 2007 and 2013.

In Phase 1, slated to span three years, Columbus will conduct studies which will include historic well data along with a detailed reservoir evaluation, with minimum spend of US$250,000.

Extended well testing is also slated, for at least two of the known oil zones, with low-risk appraisal and rolling development commencing in the first six months of 2020.

Phase 2 will comprise of 2D seismic data and three exploration wells, to become five in Phase 3. These phases are optional and are estimated to cost US$500,000 each.

There is no upfront cost or payment attached to the agreement. The production sharing contract sees Columbus receive between 80% and 40% of the project’s ‘profit oil’.

Under the agreement, Columbus has 100% operating interest with Staastolie holding the right to farm in to up to 50%.



What the boss says: Leo Koot, executive chairman

"The company is pleased to receive Ministry consent for the Saffron well and, as mentioned at the AGM, I will be actively involved at the rig-site during the critical phases of the well campaign.

“This has been the culmination of many years of commercial structuring, technical work, planning, and, more recently, site preparation activities. We will update the market as drilling activities on Saffron progress."

With shares trading at around 3.7p as of 11 November 2019, Columbus carries a market cap of £30.6mln.



Inflexion points

  • Start of drilling at SWP 
  • Work starts on PSC in Suriname
  • Start of CO2 injection on existing Trinidad fields to boost production


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