Leno seeks to lower oil explorer’s subscription fund

Leno seeks to lower oil explorer’s subscription fund

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Leno Corporate Services Limited has submitted a request to the country’s financial regulators to expand Bahamian participation in the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC)  investment opportunity through a lower subscription Standard Fund.

According to Leno’s Managing Director Brian Jones, who made the announcement at BPC’s Professional Fund Showcase, the request was made on January 22.

The Standard Fund would be open to anyone interested in investing with a $1,000 minimum price tag, whereas the current Professional Fund is for financial institutions and high net-worth individuals with a minimum buy-in of $10,000.

The Professional Fund closes on February 7, 2020 and thereafter investors have the option to subscribe on a monthly basis at the prevailing Net Asset Value per Share price.

Bahamas Petroleum Company, the oil and gas exploration company licensed by The Bahamas’ government to assess the country’s petroleum resources, will commence its first exploratory drill in March/April 2020.

Representatives from many of the investment firms and a variety of financial service providers attended the invitation-only Professional Fund Showcase yesterday at Luciano’s of Chicago, for a project presentation by BPC CEO Simon Potter and a financial presentation by Leno executives.

Jones said: “Leno established the investment fund to provide Bahamian investors an opportunity to participate in the BPC project. Bahamian investors have equal pricing terms with the UK shareholders, which until now was only available to investors through the London Stock Exchange.

“The Professional Fund will acquire shares in BPC at a price of GBP 0.02 per shares, for up to 100 million shares, which are the same pricing terms at which shares were on open offer to UK shareholders in October 2019, thus Bahamians are entering the investment deal on equal footing as the international investors.

In the BPC project presentation, CEO Simon Potter spoke of his company’s long expressed desire to give Bahamian individuals and institutional investors an opportunity to invest in the potential profitability of a Bahamian natural resource.

“We at BPC have long believed that Bahamians should be able to invest in the Company, and, in this way, have an interest in their own national resource,” Potter said.

“We therefore initiated a process via Leno Corporate Services Limited that created a Bahamas-domiciled mutual fund to provide a vehicle for investors to have the opportunity to invest in BPC’s project of potentially national significance.”

Potter said that over $100m has been spent on the geological research to confirm the primary targeted structure for the exploratory well, which is adjacent to the Cuban maritime border.

The structure lies in the southern waters of The Bahamas, is more than two times the size of New Providence, and can potentially contain billions of barrels of oil.

“The size of the structures and rocks involved are similar to those found in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Which leads us to believe that the size of the anticipated resource would be a substantial asset to the government of The Bahamas,” Potter continued.

“Even though we are a regarded as a small exploration company we’ve attracted 3 of the world’s leading industry partners to our project.  We have an agreement with Seadrill for the provision of a drilling rig, and the expert services of renowned oil field service companies, Halliburton and Baker Hughes GE.”

On the question of environmental care and protection, Potter said BPC has worked extensively over the years with government environmental departments to ensure global standard safety procedures are in place and regulations are met.

He noted his company spent up to $5 million on researching and developing environmental sensitivity maps of costal area habitats, fauna and flora and sensitive receptors to allow the company, any stakeholders or agencies to have a better understanding and appreciation of costal life and usage.

“In the case of any tangible or credible threat to the environment, these maps could guide and inform anyone, including ourselves, to those sensitive areas that require immediate attention; in other words, it allows any responders to prioritize and maximize protection efforts in specified areas,” Potter said.

Potter also informed attendees of the most recent and industry pertinent environmental laws.

“In April 2018, BPC submitted an Environmental Authorisation (EA) application in compliance with a new regulatory requirement. BPC’s EA application included, inter alia, an updated EIA (to that already accepted in 2012) and an Environmental Management Plan (“EMP”).

“Over and above this The Bahamas Government has recently modernised and strengthened its Petroleum legislation and attendant regulations to govern oil exploration activity.”

These regulations, the chief executive said, combine best practices identified in a variety of leading jurisdictions – including new procedures and equipment requirements – to reflect the best risk management practices and mandate the use of most up-to-date technology.