Real Energy Corporation Ltd (ASX: RLE) is the only junior oil and gas explorer left with a large landholding in Australia's prolific producing Cooper Basin (8,314km2) that is 100% owned that is prime oil and gas exploration ground.
As the last junior left with 100% ownership of its landholdings, we expect Real Energy will have takeover appeal at some stage. Real Energy also has cash reserves of $14.1m which values the company at Enterprise Valuation of just $19.3m (undiluted).
Recommendation: Speculative Buy
ASX Code: RLE
Share Price Target: $0.35 - $0.68
Share Price: $0.20
52 Week -
Issued Ordinary Shares: 167.4M
Market Cap (undiluted): $33.4M
Enterprise Value: $19.3M
Non Executive Chairman: Lan Nguyen
Managing Director: Scott Brown
Non Executive Director: Norman Zillman
Non Executive Director: Michael Mager
Real Energy is significantly undervalued; last junior with large Cooper Basin holdings
- The landholding captures an unconventional basin centred gas play and significant unconventional shale oil potential within the Cretaceous Toolebuc, along with multiple conventional oil and gas targets.
- Real Energy owns 100% of over 2 million prime acres in the Basin where the independent geologist has assessed that Real Energy's areas have a Mean Gross Estimated Petroleum Initially-in-Place of 10.2 Tcf of gas in the Toolachee and Patchawarra formations.
- Major companies are very active (BG, Chevron, Santos, Beach). Approx. $1 billion will be spent in the Basin in the next three years.
- A high success rate in the Basin to date has returned high net profit margins for oil. There is proximity to established infrastructure.
- The Company is completing seismic evaluation work and plans to commence drilling of three back to back wells within ATP 927P by mid-2014.
- Real Energy holds a significant asset position that is currently valued at $9.44 per acre in a proven hydrocarbon province that exhibits a high rate of success and where major resource developers are acquiring positions in unconventional plays. Chevron has farmed-in with Beach on PEL 218 at $1,103 per acre, and on ATP 855 at $900 per acre.
- The Cooper Basin is still considered to be an undeveloped basin for unconventional resources that carry a low cost of entry for major resource players. Technology advances have provided a path to commercialisation.
- Given the major oil and gas companies in the Basin and undeveloped nature of the Basin and success rates, further M&A is expected.
- The current imputed Enterprise Valuation of $9.44 per acre for Real Energy reflects an extreme undervaluation within its peer group. It represents an opportunity for investors to capture the last "ASX-junior" left in the Basin and before its share price is re-rated.
- Our estimate entails a share price valuation and target for Real Energy within 6-9 months of $0.35 -$0.68 per share as drilling approaches (see peer group analysis and valuation).
Real Energy Corporation Ltd is an oil and gas exploration and development company that was founded in 2009 and listed on the ASX in December of 2013. The Company raised $10 million through the issue of 40 million shares at $0.25 per share, and maintains a highly experienced board and management team that will drive development.
Real Energy focus is on the Cooper Basin which is Australia's most prolific conventional onshore petroleum producing basin.
ATP 927P, ATP 917P AND ATP1161 PA COVER 2 MILLION ACRES IN THE COOPER AND EROMANGA BASINS
The Company has 100% ownership in three large permits in Queensland that include ATP (Authority to Prospect) ATP927P, ATP917P, and ATP 1161PA (under application) that cover a total of 8,314 square kilometres or 2,054,435 acres. Investors should note that development of gas fields with pipelines now surrounds ATP 927P, and the Inland oil field abuts ATP 1161 PA (see map above).
The Cooper and Eromanga Basins produced their first commercial gas discovery in 1963, and in 1981 followed up with the Jackson oil field which is Australia's largest onshore oil field. Total production from both basins up to the end of 2012 is 6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 300 million barrels of oil.
There are currently 160 gas fields and 80 oil fields that are producing from 800 gas wells and 350 oil wells. Over 3,000 petroleum wells have been drilled across both basins, and pipelines have been installed to transport gas to major Australian markets and three LNG export facilities.
Operators in the Cooper Basin include Santos, Chevron, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), Origin Energy (ASX:ORG), BG Group,Senex Energy (ASX:SXY), New Hope Group (ASX:NHC), Energy World Corporation (ASX:EWC), AGL Energy (ASX:AGK),Drillsearch Energy (ASX:DLS) Cooper Energy (ASX:COE) and Icon Energy (ASX:ICN).
The US Energy Information Administration ranks the Cooper Basin as one of the most prospective global locations outside the United States for development utilising fraccing technology.
ATP 927P, QUEENSLAND
ATP 927P comprises four separate blocks with a total area of approximately 1,718 square kilometres that are located 100 kilometres northwest of Eromanga in southwest Queensland.
ATP 927P is considered to be very under-explored. There have been no wells drilled within the ATP but there are a number of oil and gas fields and discoveries that are in close proximity. The existing seismic grid includes 435 kilometres of multi-vintage 2D regional seismic data.
ATP 927P is considered prospective for gas in the Cooper Basin section, and for oil in the Eromanga Basin section. A number of gas and condensate discoveries have been made in the Cooper Basin proximate to ATP 927P, with gas trapped in both the Triassic and Permian reservoirs. These reservoirs exhibit variable reservoir quality, with average porosities of typically less than 15%, and drill stem test flow rates of up to 11.35 million cubic feet from the Toolachee formation as reported in Wareena-1. It is also significant that all the petroleum wells drilled within 20 kms of ATP927 have had gas charge in the Toolachee or Patchawarra formations and over 50% of the wells have had commercial gas production.
UNCONVENTIONAL GAS PLAY IN THE PERMIAN TOOLACHEE AND PATCHAWARRA FORMATIONS WITHIN 927P
The Toolachee and Patchawarra Formations are a basin centered gas play that presents itself across the entirety of ATP927P and is found at depths of approximately 2,200 - 3,000 metres. This is reflected in elevated gas readings that are reported from wells in the area that were drilled as off-sets on local palaeo-highs, and reported elevated gas readings over the entire interval.
Source rocks encountered in these off-set wells report Total Organic Carbon from 1% - 30% with an average of more than 10% in the Toolachee, and more than 8% in the Patchawarra. Source rocks in the dry gas generative window report a Tmax range from 474°C - 484°C.
The Toolachee section in these off-set wells has a thickness of 30 - 60 metres and in the Patchawarra has a thickness of 20 - 90 metres. The Toolachee and Patchawarra sections in the main block of ATP 927P are likely to be thicker, with the Toolachee over 60 metres, and Patchawarra over 90 metres.
GROSS ESTIMATE FOR UNCONVENTIONAL OIL IN PLACE FOR ATP 927P
Best estimate PIIP compiled by AWT International for the Toolebuc Formation is 2,010 billion cubic feet of shale gas and 3,560 million barrels of shale oil and condensate.
Best estimate PIIP for Toolachee - Patchawarra Basin centered gas is a mean of 5,700 billion cubic feet and a P10 estimate of 10,500 billion cubic feet of gas.
CONVENTIONAL OIL AND GAS PROSPECTS
Conventional oil and gas prospects that have been developed within ATP 927P include:
- Alkina North Gas with a primary target in the Toolachee and Patchawarra for a best estimate of prospective resources of 13.43 billion cubic feet of gas.
- Alkina West Gas with a primary target in the Toolachee and Patchawarra for a best estimate of prospective resources of 98.02 billion cubic feet of gas.
- Alkina North Oil with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Birkhead, Murta, and Namur, for a best estimate of prospective resources of 0.28 million barrels of oil.
- Alkina West Oil A with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Birkhead, Murta, and Namur, for a best estimate of prospective resources of 0.27 million barrels of oil.
- Alkina West Oil B with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Birkhead, Murta, and Namur, for a best estimate of prospective resources of 0.54 million barrels of oil.
- Boldrewood West Oil with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Birkhead, Murta, and Namur, for a best estimate of prospective resources of 0.93 million barrels of oil.
- Marama East with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Birkhead, Murta, and Namur, for a best estimate of prospective resources of 1.52 million barrels of oil.
ATP 917P, QUEENSLAND
ATP 917P is a single contiguous block that covers 2,171 square kilometres, and is located 200 kilometres northwest of Eromanga in southwestern Queensland.
ATP 917P is very significantly underexplored but is considered prospective especially for gas. Three wells have been drilled within ATP 917P and 1,143 kilometres of vintage 2D seismic data completed along with some infill seismic data around historic well sites.
UNCONVENTIONAL GAS PLAY IN THE PERMIAN TOOLACHEE AND PATCHAWARRA FORMATIONS
The Toolachee Formation is a gas play that is present in over 60% of ATP 917P and is located at a depth of 2,600 - 3,000 metres. The formation is typically over 70 metres thick.
Evaluation of source rocks exhibits TOC (total organic carbon) over a range of 2% - +30%, with an average of more than 10%, and a Tmax range of 460°C - 474°C that is indicative of a condensate wet gas generative window.
Total organic carbon levels are now widely utilised to help evaluate unconventional reservoirs. Tmax is also a useful indicator of maturity, with higher values being more mature. Medium temperatures that are greater than 440°C produce mostly oil and little gas, with warmer temperatures producing mostly gas.
Gas was discovered in the Permian Toolachee Formation approximately 22 kilometres south of the permit, and a minor oil recovery with associated weak gas also flowed from Horse Creek -1 located immediately east of the southern section of the permit. A number of earlier exploration wells were drilled within and adjacent to ATP 917P that exhibited good gas shows in poorer quality reservoir sands that were never fully evaluated or flowed at non-commercial rates.
These wells may have penetrated a continuous unconventional gas play and plans to drill an exploration well within the Permian section to test reservoir quality. There are a number of wells in adjacent areas that have been completed as Toolachee or Patchawarra formation gas producers that support this prognosis.
The central part of ATP 917P is considered prospective for a deep Permian and Triassic gas play that is validated by gas flows from the nearby Springfield-1 well. Flow rates of 6 million cubic feet per day have been reported from the Permian Toolachee Formation in Bunya-2, and 3.4 million cubic feet per day has been reported from the Permian Patchawarra Formation in Bunya-1.
UNCONVENTIONAL SHALE OIL PLAY IN THE TOOLEBUC FORMATION
THE TOOLEBUC FORMATION FAIRWAY RUNS ACROSS ALL ATP's HELD BY REAL ENERGY
An unconventional Toolebuc shale play is emerging to the northeast of ATP 917P. The Toolebuc is a Cretaceous marine, organic rich shale or marl with variable limestone content that is up to 40 metres thick and produces a wet gas peak in well intersections of the formation.
The Toolebuc Formation has been intersected in several wells within ATP 917P at a depth of approximately 1,300 metres, is up to 32 metres thick, and consists of carbonaceous claystone to siltstone, and exhibits high gas levels. Exploration of this play will require a coring program to evaluate the organic content, maturation levels, and likely hydrocarbon resource type.
CONVENTIONAL OIL PLAY POTENTIAL
There is additional potential for conventional oil accumulations within the Eromanga Basin section of ATP 917P where the presence of Jurassic Hutton Formation and Namur Sandstone reservoirs are noted along with secondary reservoir units containing sandstones and seals containing shales and claystones. A number of wells drilled within and proximate to ATP 917P have reported oil shows.
Eromanga Basin oil fields are known to be sourced from Cooper Basin oil sourced rocks, with oil migration occurring in areas where Triassic seals are breached. Local oil source rocks are also known to occur in a substantial kitchen area that lies to the southeast of the permit.
Conventional oil and gas prospects that have been developed include:
- Ingella North West Oil with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Namur, Murta for a best estimate of prospective resources of 4.71 million barrels of oil
- Ingella South Oil with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Namur, Murta for a best estimate of prospective resources of 1.16 million barrels of oil
- Ingella South West Oil with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Namur, Murta for a best estimate of prospective resources of 0.52 million barrels of oil
- Ingella Updip Oil with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Namur, Murta for a best estimate of prospective resources of 0.70 million barrels of oil
GROSS ESTIMATE FOR UNCONVENTIONAL OIL IN PLACE FOR ATP 917P
AWT International has developed an independent gross estimate for Petroleum Initially in Place within ATP 917P that is based on an evaluation of all wells that were drilled for gas and oil within and around the ATP. This estimate attempts to measure the total hydrocarbon content of a reservoir, and is not to be confused with reserves that estimate the total amount of hydrocarbons that can be technically and economically be recovered.
Best estimate for the Toolebuc Formation is 4,320 billion cubic feet of shale gas and 8,590 million barrels of shale oil and condensate.
Best estimate for Toolachee - Patchawarra Basin centered gas is a mean of 4,500 billion cubic feet and a P10 estimate of 9,500 billion cubic feet of gas. The P10 estimate indicates a10% likelihood that the actual size of the reservoir exceeds this number.
ATP 917 AND ATP 972 A BASIN CENTERED GAS PLAY
ATP 1161PA, QUEENSLAND (UNDER APPLICATION)
ATP 1161 PA covers an area of approximately 4,425 square kilometres. The block is located 95 kilometres northwest of the town of Windorah and overlies the central Eromanga Basin and the northern Cooper Basin.
Only one petroleum exploration well has been drilled within ATP 1161 PA, and seismic coverage is fair and consists of multi-vintage 2D seismic lines that were recorded during the 1980's.
The ATP offers a relatively attractive Eromanga play that requires follow up on the north easterly extension of the Inland oil field trend and evaluation of deeper structural areas to the south and south-east of the Inland trend. The Toolebuc Formation is identified as an oil shale play, and is interpreted at a depth below 1,000 metres which covers this south eastern trend.
Total Organic Content ranges up to 20% over a thickness of 20-40 metres and exhibits matrix porosity in the range of 4% - 13%.
CONVENTIONAL OIL AND GAS PROSPECTS
Conventional oil prospects that have been developed within ATP 1161 PA include:
- Lead A with a primary target in the Hutton Sandstone, and secondary targets in the Murta, and Namur, for a best estimate of prospective resources of 7.95 million barrels of oil
- Lead B with a primary target in the Poolowanna, and secondary targets in the Birkhead and Hutton, for a best estimate of prospective resources of 2.65 million barrels of oil
GROSS ESTIMATE FOR UNCONVENTIONAL OIL IN PLACE FOR ATP 1161 PA
Best estimate compiled by AWT International for the Toolebuc Formation is 3,200 billion cubic feet of shale gas and 6,360 million barrels of shale oil and condensate.
Unconventional production of hydrocarbons in the Cooper Basin forecast to grow rapidly as new drilling and extraction technologies for these sources are adopted from the United States.
U.S. growth in production of gas from unconventional sources has surged over 1,200% in the last ten years, and is led by the development of horizontal drilling and fraccing techniques.
U.S. GAS PRODUCTION SURGES TO RECORD LEVELS
The Cooper Basin has the right geology with organic rich mature shale, strong gas pricing, favorable development terms, and excellent infrastructure along with highly skilled service industry support, low population density and low environmental hurdles assisted by a pro-growth government.
The basin is extremely under-explored with $1 billion currently committed to development of both conventional and unconventional plays over the next 3 years.
The U.S. model for development of unconventional gas resources has been implemented in the Cooper Basin by a number of major local players.
Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) reports similar positive results from unconventional sources with Moonta-1 flowing 2.6 million cubic feet per day from the Patchawarra, and Halifax-1 reporting 2.2 million cubic feet per day in the Patchawarra and Toolachee.
Senex Energy (ASX: SXY) also reports a great deal of success from development of unconventional gas sources, with six wells under evaluation This includes Hornet-1 which produced in excess of 2 million cubic feet of gas per day from the Patchawarra.
MULTIPLE UNCONVENTIONAL TARGETS THAT ARE NOW UNDER DEVELOPMENT IN THE COOPER BASIN
EnergyQuest is forecasting a price range of $8-$11 per gigajoule of gas that will apply in 2017.
EAST COAST GAS SUPPLY AND LOCAL DEMAND IN PETAJOULES
LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) for export will dominate local pricing of gas, and allow for the rapid and ongoing development of Cooper Basin gas for local consumption and also meet export demand.
Pipeline infrastructure surrounds and crosses all of the ATP's held by Real Energy, and are available for delivery of gas to East Coast markets.
SHARE PRICE CATALYSTS FOR 2014 - 2015
- Reprocessing of seismic data within ATP 927P and ATP 917P to assist with establishment of drilling locations, identify additional leads and prospects for further exploration work.
- Selection of three drilling locations to be released at the end of the June quarter 2014.
- Permitting and rig negotiations underway for commencement of proposed drilling programme.
- A three well drilling programme is planned on a back to back basis that is scheduled to get underway in mid-2014.
- Each well will be drilled to a depth of approximately 3,000 metres and take approximately 2- 3 weeks to reach target depth, with completion and testing to follow.
- $13.1 million committed to initial 2 year exploration programme that will generate ongoing news-flow in 2014 - 2015.
ANALYSIS AND VALUATION
Real Energy is currently capitalised at $33.4 million (undiluted), of which $14.1 million are cash reserves - valuing the company at just $19.3 million on an enterprise valuation.
It is advantageous to compare Real Energy against its ASX-listed larger company peers:
- Real Energy holds 2,054,435 acres (8,314km2) (Market Cap: $33.4M) in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins for a currentEnterprise Valuation of $9.44 per acre.
- Senex Energy (ASX: SXY) (Market Cap: $784M) is a producer with a net position of 6.8 million acres in the Cooper, Eromanga and Surat Basins for an Enterprise Valuation of $114.5 per acre.
- Drillsearch (ASX: DSL) (Market Cap: $681M) is a pure Cooper Basin producer with a net position of 3.3 million acres for an Enterprise Valuation of $206.4 per acre.
- Icon Energy (ASX: ICN) (Market Cap: $53M) is an explorer and developer with a net position of 1.9 million acres in the Cooper, Eromanga and Surat Basins for an Enterprise Valuation of $28.1 per acre.
- Ambassador Oil and Gas (ASX: AQO) (Market Cap: $20M) is an explorer and developer of unconventional oil and gas assets with a net position of 0.3 million acres in the Cooper Basin for an Enterprise Valuation of $69.0 per acre.
Recent merger and acquisition activity included Chevron (NYSE: CVX) which will outlay up to US$349 million to acquire a 60% interest in PEL 218 and up to a 36% interest in ATP 855 that are operated by Beach Energy. The permits cover the highly prospective Nappamerri Trough in the Cooper Basin (see earlier diagram of Nappamerri Trough).
The first stage of the deal places a value of $1,103.10 per acre for a 30% interest in PEL 218 which is located in South Australia, and $792.40 per acre for an 18% interest in ATP 855 which is located in Queensland.
New Standard Energy (ASX: NSE) backed by U.S. shale industry pioneer Magnum Hunter Resources (NYSE: MHR) will invest up to $42.5 million to earn a 52.5% interest in PEL 570 owned by Ambassador Oil and Gas, and places a value of$136.50 per acre for undeveloped acreage.
This is a bargain when compared with unconventional acreage in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Barnett and Haynesville shales that sold for a median price of US$15,546 per acre from 2010 - 2012.
On our analysis based on a highly estimate, we arrive at an Enterprise Valuation range for Real Energy that applies to the two lowest valued peers (Icon and Ambassador) that are operating in the Cooper Basin, and apply this to the 960,972 acres in ATP 719P and ATP 927P.
On further analysis, we believe that by mid 2014 when seismic work is advanced and the first three drilling targets for the upcoming drilling programme are more highly defined in latter part of 2014 the strength of the Real Energy equation and undervalued nature of its share price will be recognised.
We find the reasons that Real Energy is focused on the Cooper Basin to be compelling. There is a strong geological knowledge from good well control and seismic data set. There is proximity to good infrastructure and the basin is well served with active international service providers. Tellingly, the basin is home to the largest onshore oil and gas fields.
We also believe the premiums paid in merger and acquisitions and farm-ins to the Cooper Basin under-pin the future valuation case for Real Energy. It should also provide a floor at or around the current enterprise valuation and provide a significant upside opportunity for investors as new flow picks up momentum.
Australian valuation multiples remain very low relative to the U.S. Real Energy's large 100% owned landholding early in the industry's development will be the key with catalyst such as:
- Further investment by majors
- Exploration and production success
- Commercialisation likely to trigger substantial sector re-rating
Real Energy has a significant asset position with a material footprint in the proven hydrocarbon province Cooper Basins in relatively underexplored regions with high exploration success rate. Real Energy is the only junior in the Cooper Basin with 100% and large acreage position. Hence we would not discount corporate interest in Real Energy in the medium term.
Real Energy owns 100% of over 2 million prime acres in the basin that the independent geologist has assessed Real Energy's acreage to have a Mean Gross Estimated Petroleum Initially-in-Place of 10.2 Tcf of gas in the Toolachee and Patchawarra formations.
Thus, we arrive at a range of $28.1 - $69.0 per acre for a valuation range of between $57.7M to $141.75M. That equates to a share price target of $0.35 - $0.68 per share for Real Energy.
We conclude that Real Energy is significantly undervalued compared to its peers.
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