16 September 2008

Great news at a bad time

Today we announced that we had farmed-in to 10% of a 1.6 Billion barrel prospect, offshore India. To non-oil industry people this means that we have acquired 10% of somebody else’s prospect in exchange for technical services and knowledge. This has taken over a year of work and some difficult negotiations. There are only 3 or 4 companies who have ever managed to do a deal like this in India before and they are all very large (eg Shell and Statoil). The Indians are “interesting” to negotiate with and the deal has been 1 week away from getting signed for about 9 months. One friend commented that it was akin to “swimming in treacle” and if it had been left to me would never have happened at all. But now it is signed and it is a massive credit to all the guys that have worked on it, especially those that have been so patient. Success in this block will make us the second biggest Norwegian oil company after Statoilhydro - which would be nice!

The only problem was that we announced the deal on the day that the World stock market went to hell in a handcart! Shares were tumbling as fast as the analysts and investment bankers who were throwing themselves off the roofs of down town Oslo and London. Bummer, so while our share price should have gone up 50% and more it only went up 2%.

So much for early retirement!

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