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Wait for Whicher

AMITY Oil is all but ready to drill the Whicher Range-5 well near Busselton.

The company has the required drilling approvals, the well site is prepared, recent fund-raising has paid for drill items, and last month final casings and tubulars were received.

Amity had hoped to drill Perth Basin Whicher Range-5 mid-year, but the cancellation of a proposed farm-in in the fourth quarter last year put these plans on hold.

Final plans could come together very soon, however, on the back of two other ventures’ success.

Amity company secretary Eric Hughes said commercial interest had increased significantly in the past few weeks, and success with the Arc and Origin Energy Hovea-2 oil well to be drilled this month in the onshore Perth Basin would again focus world attention on the region.

Commercial gas from the Woodada #19 well, being drilled by Hardman and Bounty Oil & Gas, could also aid Amity’s cause.

Amity wants to reduce its 73.78 per cent interest in the well to just 50.1 per cent.

Last year Whicher Range Gasfields Limited, chaired by Amity major shareholder Anthony Barton, proposed a late-year float to take 31.54 per cent equity and fund all operational costs.

However, the company aborted the IPO after the target investment market went flat and now wants only 15 per cent.

This amount will not fund the drilling of the $9 million well, and hence Amity needs another partner. Mr Hughes said Amity had been talking with North American entities and would select a partner, or partners, with the capacity to immediately fund the drilling component of Whicher Range-5.

“We would like to drill Whicher Range-5 today,” he said. “But it’s a function of the market. We want to tie down commercial participants but must make a strategic decision in the best interests of shareholders, and one that will reduce Amity’s interest to 50.1 per cent.”

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