Cooper confident of cash flow

COOPER Energy shareholders have been rewarded for their patience with a 65 per cent jump in the value of the stock from three months ago.

Expectations are that the Fremantle-based oil and gas explorer will do well on its strategy of farm-ins to blocks bid for in the carve up of Santos’ former South Australian Cooper/Eromanga Basin assets.

Two of three oil wells have come in so far for Cooper Energy with the latest, Christies-1, confirming more oil on the western edge of the basin.

Last year the company had success with Sellicks, just 11 kilometres away. This well came into production within four months of discovery.

Oil is being trucked to Moomba at present, but with further discoveries expected, a pipeline is under consideration from Sellicks to Tantanna, already connected with a line to Moomba.

Cooper Energy has at least a further three wells on its 2003 agenda, and one more success would generate sufficient cash flow to fund drilling programs of up to six wells per year, according to chairman Greg Hancock.

The company may not have to wait long for its next success, with another well, Brighton-1, scheduled for drilling in the same block as Christies in August or September.

Brighton is testing a new structure and two other wells later this year – Eucalyptus-1 and Semaphore-1 – will test new structures further north.

First production from Christies is expected before the end of the coming summer.

Cooper Energy has 25 per cent equity in Sellicks, Christies and Brighton, and 40 and 33 per cent respectively in Eucalyptus and Semaphore.

Cooper Energy shares have been trading at around 15 cents, a 25 per cent discount on their March 2002 tag.

Euroz Securities analyst Ollie Foster last week described Cooper Energy as a “small company heading in the right direction”.

Listed diamonds pool grows

MORE choice for direct investment in diamond production is available to ASX investors, with the merger of Crown Diamonds and South African company Messina Investments.

Crown, formerly Majestic Resources, has gained the Star and Messina diamond mines in South Africa through the merger, for which settlement was completed last week.

These mines are currently producing 33,000 carats per annum, but a current $7.5 million capital raising will go towards mine upgrades, designed to target annual production of 75,000 carats.

The diamonds, 90 per cent gem quality, are sold monthly by tender. The sellers of Messina Investments will effectively gain 79 per cent of Crown, plus R4.5 million, $A1.5 million, and a potential $US2.9 million tied to profits achieved in 2006 and 2007.

Crown is chasing other diamond acquisitions in South Africa and hopes to announce a new deal within six months.



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