Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd.
TSX : PBG

Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd.
Petrominerales Ltd.
TSX : PMG

Petrominerales Ltd.

March 02, 2009 01:32 ET

Petrominerales Announces Strong Year End Results and Continued Success at Mapache

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA--(Marketwire - March 2, 2009) - Petrominerales Ltd. ("Petrominerales" or the "Company") (TSX:PMG), a 76.5% owned subsidiary of Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. ("Petrobank") (TSX:PBG), is pleased to announce record financial, operating and year-end reserve results along with another exploration success with our Mapache-1 well testing 1,400 barrels of oil per day ("bopd").

HIGHLIGHTS

(All references to $ are United States dollars unless otherwise noted)

- Record cash flow and income: annual funds flow from operations of $234.5 million ($2.25 per share) and net income of $131.1 million ($1.28 per share).

- Significant production growth: production increased 130% to average 10,967 bopd in 2008.

- Operating netbacks increased 17% to $65.79 per barrel (bbl) in 2008.

- Strong financial position with net cash and working capital of $48.9 million, an undrawn $80 million credit facility, strong cash flows and operating netbacks combined with significant production growth.

- Repurchased 1,326,000 common shares.

- Total proved reserves increased by 22% to 25.1 million barrels (2P and 3P reserves of 36.8 and 55.0 million barrels).

- Total proved plus probable NPV 10% (before taxes): $1.2 billion (3P - $1.8 billion).

FOURTH QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS

- Production averaged 15,344 bopd in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 25,897 bopd in the month of February 2009, these increases are mainly due to continued drilling success at Corcel.

- Funds flow from operations rose to $57.8 million, a 12% increase over the 2007 comparable period, despite a significant decrease in oil prices.

- Production expenses decreased to $6.45/bbl in the quarter, our lowest per-barrel cost since Corcel began commercial production.

- Strong operating netbacks of $35.22/bbl.

- Started construction of a strategic crude oil offloading station at Monterrey, which will further enhance our Corcel operating netbacks.

- Repurchased convertible debentures with a face value of $18.3 million at a 39% discount.

- Acquired a 55% working interest in Block 126 (2,636,506 gross acres) in the Ucayali Basin of east central Peru.

- Awarded two new highly prospective blocks in Colombia, Blocks 25 and 31 (333,708 acres), north of Corcel.

In 2008, our results were driven by ongoing success at Corcel and high commodity prices during the first three quarters of the year. We also continued our significant exploration campaign, building an inventory of opportunities for long-term growth.

We believe Petrominerales is well positioned for success in the current economic environment. We have a strong balance sheet with $48.9 million of cash and working capital and an $80 million undrawn credit facility, excellent assets that are providing strong production growth, superior operating netbacks and an exciting inventory of exploration prospects. The current economic environment, while challenging, is opening up opportunities and has resulted in lower costs, and more availability of equipment and services. In 2009, we will continue to balance future capital spending with existing cash balances, expected future cash flows and judicious use of our undrawn debt facility.

OPERATIONAL UPDATE

Production has averaged 15,344 bopd in the fourth quarter of 2008, a 60% increase from the fourth quarter of 2007. The increase is due to continued success at Corcel, despite a temporary 29% decrease in Orito production caused by a general strike in the Putumayo Province for nearly half the quarter. Production has increased further to average 25,897 bopd in the month of February 2009, due mainly to recent production additions from our Corcel-D1 and D2 wells and drilling success at Neiva.

Corcel

The Corcel-D1 discovery well was brought on production in December and was recompleted this January in the Mirador formation with excellent results. The Corcel-D2 well was also completed in January and together these wells are producing over 13,000 bopd. Our third well planned for the structure, Corcel-D3, had intermediate casing set and is currently drilling through the Mirador formation, which was entered eight feet higher than prognosis and encountered hydrocarbon shows. No reserves have been assigned to the Corcel-D3 well by our independent reserve evaluator at December 31, 2008. The next well in our multi-well Corcel drilling program, Corcel-E1, will spud later in March.

The Corcel central processing facility is currently capable of handling 70,000 barrels of fluid per day. An upgrade to 140,000 barrels of fluid per day is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

We are continuing to evaluate a number of options to guarantee cost effective access to domestic and international markets. We have started construction of a strategic oil offloading station at Monterrey that will provide preferential rights to deliver up to 20,000 bopd into the main export pipeline. Construction of this facility is now 42% complete. Early start up of 11,000 bopd of delivery capacity is planned for May 2009 and our final capacity of 20,000 bopd will be available early in the third quarter of 2009. The facility will be the closest offloading station to Corcel, 77 kilometres away, and will reduce our trucking costs by up to $6.00/bbl for volumes delivered to Monterrey.

Mapache

On our Mapache block, we have now prepared the Mapache-2 exploration well for extended production testing. On initial test, the well flowed at an average rate of 1,300 barrels of 34 degree API oil per day, over a 30-hour period from 9 feet of high quality sand, in the Upper Carbonera 7 (C7) formation. We have installed an electric submersible pump capable of producing 3,500 barrels of fluid per day and have constructed production facilities with an initial capacity of 5,000 barrels of fluid per day. We are currently evaluating alternatives for delivering Mapache oil to market on a year round basis.

Following the C7 test in Mapache-2, the Upper Mirador formation was re-swab tested and stabilized at a rate equivalent to 515 bopd of 34 degree API crude. We have begun completion operations at the Mapache-1 well, which appears to have similar potential in the Mirador sands to Mapache-2. Final rates from our recent twenty four hour flow test at Mapache-1 were 1,400 bopd of 34 degree crude oil, at less than 2% water cut. We also plan to acquire an additional 91 square kilometres of 3D seismic on the block.

No reserves have been assigned to the Mapache wells by our independent reserve evaluator at December 31, 2008.

Neiva

On our Neiva block, we have now drilled 10 new wells, seven to the Doima Chicoral formation and three to the Honda formation as part of our multi-well development drilling program. Four wells have been completed and are on production, two in the Honda and two in the Doima Chicoral. Neiva production averaged 1,056 bopd in February 2009, more than double our average 2008 levels. The increase reflects the effectiveness of our innovative multi-stage fracture stimulation program now being used to complete these wells. We plan to drill 6-24 additional wells on the Neiva block in 2009.

Orito

On our Orito block, production averaged 1,844 bopd in the fourth quarter. A general strike in the Putamayo region resulted in production being shut-in from November 20, 2008 to January 5, 2009. Production has since been ramping up, and averaged 2,920 bopd in February 2009. In 2009, we have drilled the Orito-163 and 171 wells and, given the current commodity price environment, we will be releasing our Orito drilling rig to maximize our balance sheet strength. We had also planned an extensive 3D program over the south and east central areas of Orito as well as the adjoining Las Aguilas exploration block to image and confirm the viability of up to 14 additional drilling locations in the undeveloped areas of the field. This 3D seismic program was also delayed due to the general strike in the region.

Exploration

We have commenced a 400 square kilometre 3D seismic acquisition campaign on our Mapache, Castor, Casimena, Casanare and Rio Ariari exploration blocks. We anticipate that this program will be completed during the second quarter of 2009. These 3D seismic programs are expected to better define previously identified leads and structures derived from our 2D seismic data set and will satisfy our next phase commitments on these blocks.

Our three-well heavy oil exploration drilling program is expected to commence in May 2009, with one well to be drilled on each of the Chiguiro Este, Chiguiro Oeste and Rio Ariari blocks.

On our Guatiquia Block, immediately southwest of Corcel, we plan to spud our first exploration well in July 2009 targeting a significant prospect identified from 3D seismic.

Late in 2008, we were granted two contiguous blocks north of Corcel, Block 25 and 31, on trend with the "super giant" Cusiana-Cupiagua fields. Both blocks have an existing grid of 2D seismic from which several preliminary leads have been identified. The first phase of these contracts has a term of 36 months, and our work commitments include acquiring 3D seismic and drilling exploration wells on both properties. In 2009, we will conduct our environmental studies with plans to commence our exploration program in early 2010.

Last November, Petrominerales also acquired a 55 percent interest in the 2.6 million acre Block 126 in the Ucayali Basin of Peru. The block's first phase commitments included the reinterpretation of 1,200 kilometres of 2D seismic, which has been completed and confirmed a large anomally, the La Colpa structure, which was encountered by a well drilled on the block 20 years ago. Initially, three other structural leads have also been identified from the existing reprocessed 2D seismic. The next exploration phase will include the acquisition of 150 square kilometres of 3D seismic and 50 kilometres of 2D seismic, which is likely to commence later this year. An Environmental Impact Assessment has been submitted to the Peruvian government and a public consultation was completed in February 2009. Approval for the seismic program is expected in 4-6 months and the first exploration well on the block could be drilled as early as 2010.

RESERVES

Total proved reserves in Colombia have increased by 22%, based on the DeGolyer and MacNaughton ("D&M") evaluation as at December 31, 2008. All reserves stated herein are based on forecast prices and costs and are company interest reserves after Ecopetrol's (the State oil company) share, and before royalties. D&M's work incorporates an update of their comprehensive geological and petrophysical evaluation of the Corcel, Orito, Neiva and Joropo properties. The evaluation does not include any reserves associated with our recent exploration successes on the Mapache Block, our Corcel D-3 well, or our remaining 13 exploration blocks.

Summary results of the D&M report are highlighted as follows:

- Total proved reserves increased by 22% to 25.2 million barrels.

- Total proved plus probable reserves remained constant at 36.8 million barrels.

- Total proved, probable and possible reserves increased by 6% to 55.0 million barrels.

- Proved reserve additions replaced 214% of 2008 production.

- Total proved plus probable forecasted production for 2009 is 23,148 bopd.

- Proved, and total proved plus probable F&D costs of $24.95/bbl and $30.66/bbl in 2008, respectively, which includes changes in future development costs and expenditures incurred on our 13 exploration blocks that were not evaluated by our reserve evaluators.



Company Gross Reserves Reconciliation (mbbls)
Proved Proved +
Developed Total Proved + Probable +
Producing Proved Probable Possible
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
December 31, 2007 reserves 9,118 20,597 36,977 51,930
2008 production (4,014) (4,014) (4,014) (4,014)
Net additions 9,125 8,591 3,859 7,022
------------- ----- ----- ----- -----
December 31, 2008 reserves 14,229 25,174 36,849 54,965
Year over year increase in
reserves 56% 22% 0% 6%
Production replacement 227% 214% 96% 175%


Net Present Value - Before Tax - Forecast Prices ($ millions)
2008
----------------------------------------
0% 5% 10% 15%
----------------------------------------
Proved Developed Producing 606.9 540.9 487.2 454.1
Total Proved 1,201.3 989.1 831.9 726.9
Proved + Probable 1,812.5 1,476.6 1,229.4 1,063.8
Proved + Probable +
Possible 2,738.7 2,199.9 1,808.6 1,554.6


Net Present Value - After Tax - Forecast Prices ($ millions)
2008
----------------------------------------
0% 5% 10% 15%
----------------------------------------
Proved Developed Producing 529.1 469.6 421.2 390.8
Total Proved 960.3 798.3 676.5 593.1
Proved + Probable 1,357.4 1,114.2 933.3 809.2
Proved + Probable +
Possible 1,979.1 1,598.9 1,320.6 1,136.3


The disclosures required in accordance with National Instrument 51-101 of the Canadian Securities Administrators will be available in the Company's Annual Information Form to be filed on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com later in March.

FINANCIAL AND OPERATING RESULTS

The following table provides a summary of Petrominerales' financial and operating results for the three and twelve month periods ended December 31, 2008 and 2007. Consolidated financial statements with Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") are now available on the Company's website at www.petrominerales.com and will also be available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com.



Three months ended Years ended
December 31, % December 31, %
2008 2007 change 2008 2007 change
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Financial ($000s, except
where noted)
Crude oil revenue 70,610 71,325 (1) 343,182 124,761 175
Funds flow from
operations(1) 57,811 51,778 12 234,534 85,883 173
Per share - basic ($) 0.58 0.52 12 2.34 0.89 163
- diluted ($) 0.56 0.50 12 2.25 0.88 156
Net income 20,278 23,491 (14) 129,826 47,551 173
Per share - basic ($) 0.20 0.23 (13) 1.31 0.49 167
- diluted ($) 0.20 0.23 (13) 1.28 0.49 161
Capital expenditures 46,861 37,216 26 268,153 143,022 87
Total assets 565,705 441,462 28 565,705 441,462 28
Working capital surplus
(1) 48,899 106,691 (54) 48,899 106,691 (54)
Common shares
outstanding, end of
period (000s)
Basic 99,399 100,289 (1) 99,399 100,289 (1)
Diluted(2) 108,619 108,854 - 108,619 108,854 -

Operations
Operating netback ($/bbl)
(3)
Crude oil revenue(4) 45.57 77.87 (41) 82.27 70.00 18
Royalties 3.90 7.88 (51) 8.02 6.55 22
Production expenses 6.45 7.49 (14) 8.46 7.16 18
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Operating netback 35.22 62.50 (44) 65.79 56.29 17

Average daily crude oil
production (bbls) 15,344 9,575 60 10,967 4,767 130

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proved plus probable
reserves (mbbls)(5) 36,849 36,977 -
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
NPV 10% before tax ($
millions) 1,229.4 1,314.9 (7)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

(1) Non-GAAP measure. See "Non-GAAP Measures" section within MD&A.
(2) Assumes the Company's convertible debentures, issued in December 2007,
are converted into common shares (2008 - 2,987,367 shares, 2007 -
3,656,508 shares).
(3) Excludes hedging activities.
(4) Net of transportation expenses.
(5) Company working interest before deduction of royalties.


Petrominerales Ltd.

Petrominerales Ltd. is a Latin American-based exploration and production company producing oil in Colombia with 16 exploration blocks covering a total of 1.9 million acres in the Llanos and Putumayo Basins of Colombia and 2.6 million acres in the Ucayali Basin of Peru. Petrominerales is 76.5% owned by Petrobank (TSX:PBG).

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information provided in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements. The words "anticipate", "expect", "project", "estimate", "forecast" and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Specifically, this press release contains forward-looking statements relating to the timing of capital projects and the results of operations. The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. Actual results achieved during the forecast period will vary from the information provided herein as a result of numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors. You can find a discussion of those risks and uncertainties in our Canadian securities filings. Such factors include, but are not limited to: general economic, market and business conditions; fluctuations in oil prices; the results of exploration and development drilling, recompletions and related activities; timing and rig availability, outcome of exploration contract negotiations; fluctuation in foreign currency exchange rates; the uncertainty of reserve estimates; changes in environmental and other regulations; risks associated with oil and gas operations; and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. There is no representation by Petrominerales that actual results achieved during the forecast period will be the same in whole or in part as those forecast. Except as may be required by applicable securities laws, Petrominerales assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements made herein or otherwise, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact Information

  • Petrominerales Ltd.
    John D. Wright
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    (403) 750-4400 or 011 571 629 2701
    or
    Petrominerales Ltd.
    Corey C. Ruttan
    Vice-President Finance and Chief Financial Officer
    (403) 750-4400 or 011 571 629 2701
    or
    Petrominerales Ltd.
    Jack F. Scott
    Executive Vice-President and Colombian Country Manager
    (403) 750-4400 or 011 571 629 2701
    011 571 629 4723 (FAX)
    Website: www.petrominerales.com