Oil and gas field narrows as publication closes

PERTH’S oil and gas publishing industry has been cut to just two players following the closure of Aspermont Ltd’s Australasian Oil and Gas News.

Staff at Aspermont were told two weeks ago the magazine would no longer be published, though its electronic companion, the Analyst Energy Review, will continue to be produced.

Energy Publications’ Oil and Gas Australia and Resource Information Unit’s (RIU) Oil & Gas Gazette will now fight it out for “top dog” status among advertisers, in a market that has been difficult for nearly two years.

But there is speculation Aspermont might consider making an offer for the RIU magazine alone or the entire business, which, among other mining magazines, publishes the respected Register of Australian Mining. RIU’s publisher, Simon Hadfield, has been regarded by some as a seller of the business if the price is right.

But Mr Hadfield said he had not had any discussions with Aspermont and he would not be selling part or all of RIU.

“You can take it from me, we’re going to be around for a while yet,” he said.

An Aspermont director said the company was keeping its options open with regard to re-entering the oil and gas publishing business.

The director said Australasian Oil and Gas News and the Analyst Energy Review were bought at a very low price, and the acquisitions were part of the company’s attempts to provide Internet-based information.

“It’s not unusual to close a magazine, and in the company’s history a number of magazines have come and gone,” the director said.

“We’re looking at where we should apply our best people to get the best return. The oil and gas community is fairly small, and the Internet side of it has worked well for us, so we’re expanding our focus on that.”

Aspermont had struggled to integrate Australasian Oil and Gas News with its existing business systems since it acquired the magazine in March last year. The company has been burning cash quickly, and had just $148,000 in funds available to it at the end of the December quarter.

This was down from $516,000 at the end of the previous quarter despite income of nearly $600,000 during that period.

Aspermont also owns the market-leading Australia’s Mining Monthly and the website.

p See For the Record, page 40


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