Barry FitzGerald: An O&G junior with exploration success and takeover potential – that’s my 2c worth…

Garimpeiro has long had a soft spot for the ASX junior oil and gas explorers (reports Barry FitzGerald on Stockhead).

Takeover

Like their cousins in the minerals space, they offer leveraged upside to exploration success. One exploration well can do it in oil and gas, and one drill hole can do it in minerals.

Experience counts as much as it does in minerals, and it obviously helps to have quality projects with a route to market should an exploration success be notched up. Again, no different to the minerals game.

In a quiet moment between writing up yet another lithium exploration story last week, Garimpeiro went looking for a junior oil and gas explorer with those sort of credentials.

He came up with Triangle Energy (ASX:TEG). It was trading late in the week at the princely price of 2c for a market cap of $28m.

That’s not much for a company with $11m cash in the till and a potentially high impact drilling program, which is funded by joint venture partners, getting ready to roll in the onshore Perth Basin in the first half of next year.

Despite Western Australia having all the gas in the world up in the northwest, prices for the stuff have taken off to $9GJ (spot). So it is worth finding, particularly in close proximity to domestic and industrial users.

It is why the Perth Basin has become a hotbed of takeover activity. Earlier this year Chris Ellison’s Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) paid $450m for Norwest Energy, and Gina Rinehart took over Norwest’s neighbour in the basin, Warrego Energy, for $440m.

Ding dong battles they were too, with another player Strike Energy (ASX:STX) following up its loss in the Norwest battle with a proposed bid for Talon (ASX:TPD), its partner in the Walyering gas project in the basin.

The Strike tilt is not proceeding but the broader point is made – rising prices and a relatively recent geological rethink on the basin’s large-scale gas potential, along with oil pools here and there, is a good thing for small fry like Triangle.

Triangle’s acreage is in the north Perth Basin. It holds a 50% interest in two permits after farming out 50% to NZOG and Talon (25% each) for $20 million in work commitments ie. Triangle is free-carried, thank you very much.

The partners are planning two wells in the first half of next year, including a test of the Booth prospect where the “best estimate” of the prospective gross gas resource is 279 billion cubic feet of gas.

Based on those transactions mentioned earlier, 1Bcf gas has a value of about $2 million in the Perth Basin. There is no guarantee of success at Booth. But if it were to come in at something like the best estimate, Triangle’s 50% interest (about 140Bcf) would be seriously meaningful for the $28m company.

Apart from other gas prospects (taking the total best estimate net to Triangle to 197Bcf), there are also a couple of small oil prospects, including the Becos prospect (2.5 million barrels best estimate potential net to Triangle).

Now it has to be said that Triangle is already an oil producer from the ageing offshore Cliff Head project.

Its future though is as a carbon capture and storage (CCS) operation. It has merit and is being progressed through an uncertain approvals process. Triangle has decided to move on, selling its interest in Cliff Head to Pilot Energy (ASX:PGY) for $15 million in progress payments and long-dated royalties.

It leaves Triangle to focus on its conventional oil and gas exploration interests in the Perth Basin, and potential new exploration additions in the UK and Asia.

A roadshow of the tweaked Triangle story hits the Eastern states this week. Clearly then, not everyone in resources is going to be in Kalgoorlie for next week’s return of the Diggers & Dealers bash.

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