July 22, 2009


Thailand’s state-controlled PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP) is the most interested potential buyer of unlisted Australian producer Coogee Resources, according to a report in the West Australian newspaper. The report claims that PTTEP is carrying out due diligence of Coogee and its assets, the most promising of which is the Montara oil project in the Timor Sea.

Timor Sea Assets
Coogee Resources’ Petroleum Titles and Interests
Source: Company Data

Coogee was put up for sale in October 2008 after the company’s second-largest shareholder Babcock & Brown decided to sell its 35% stake, prompting a number of unsolicited bids. A data room was set up for the sale by investment bank Goldman Sachs JBWere. The report in West Australian claims that companies initially interested in acquiring Coogee included Australian producer Woodside Petroleum, US independent Apache and Australian Worldwide Exploration. While other companies have been put off by Coogee’s AUD270mn of debt and concerns over the quality of its assets, PTTEP has spent the longest time in the data room, suggesting it is seriously considering making an offer.

Coogee’s assets are located in the Timor Sea, where its only output comes from the mature Jabiru-Challis offshore oil fields, which produced 450 barrels per day (b/d) of oil in H108. The company is currently developing the Montara oil project, its principal assets, which is near Jabiru-Challis. Montara has recoverable oil reserves of 24mn barrels (bbl), according to Coogee, while the satellite Skua, Swift and Swallow fields hold a combined 15mn bbl. As well as its plans for oil, Coogee aims to develop an offshore methanol project to commercialise the gas in its Timor Sea prospects.

According to PTTEP’s most recent strategy announcement from April 2008, the company plans to invest THB81.2bn ($2US.6bn) on exploration, development and production of 38 projects during 2008. Of that it intends to spend THB62.3bn (77%) on projects in Thailand, THB7.8bn (9%) in Myanmar, THB6bn (7%) in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), THB4.4bn (5%) in Vietnam and THB765mn in Indonesia, Cambodia and New Zealand. Should it decide to acquire Coogee, it would represent PTTEP’s first foray into the Australian market and would demonstrate a growing trend of Australian explorers and producers being snapped up by larger state-backed Asian national oil companies (NOCs), with the rumoured bid for Santos from China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) being the most pertinent recent example.


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