Australis Oil & Gas, the oil and gas company formed by the founder and executives of Aurora Oil & Gas Limited, has gone into a trading halt in order to raise up to $40 million. The amount is supposed to fund a proposed $US100 million drilling project over its emerging shale play in the south-east US. The company didn’t mention much in its announcement.
A week ago, Australis mentioned in a presentation to investors that it would consider raising new equity as part of a funding package for the drilling program. It is believed that the debt will account for most of the funding for the drilling, and the project will see 10 wells sunk over the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale properties in the second half of the year. The company produces about 4 million oil barrels in a year from the region, and the new project will help it access the estimated reserves of 145 million barrels of recoverable oil present under its tenements.
Australis will issue up to the allowable 15 per cent of its issued capital, while the company and its advisors finalize the quantum or the price of the equity raising. According to the last exchange, the Australis shares traded at 36¢ valuing the group at $280 million. After being bought by Canada’s Baytex Energy for $1.8 billion in 2014, Australis has taken a long-term cyclical view, accumulating properties in the TMS that can be developed and sold on the back of stronger oil prices.