Niko Resources - An Elephant that can gallop?

Wednesday, Apr 20 2011 by

Given there as been quite a bit of discussion about NKO following the First Energy Global Energy Conference last year, I thought it would make sense to give it its own thread.

The overview  on the company website gives access to a wealth of information on their operations. Click on each area around the globe for a v brief overview and then click in the blocks for more detail on ownership etc.

Essentially, Niko has been something of a wonder stock over the past few years based upon the success of its Indian Venture. At the core is the D6 block in the Krishna Godavria Basin where they have 10% interest. "10% is that all?" I hear you say, well in this case 10% of D6 is a lot. Current production of c170Mscf/d net to NKO and planned increases to 280M scf/d eventually.

The company has repaid its debt and is now very cash generative so the company can fund its exploration out of current cash flows even before further expansion of production (or price increase for the gas from D6).

Alongside India the company has built up an incredible acreage position in many areas as shown in the overview mentioned above.

The biggest acreage wise is Indonesia, where, IIRC, Niko is the largest acreage holder offshore.

Trinidad has also been significantly increased with further acreage acquired just this week (19/4/11).

Kurdistan is interesting, especially in the short term, where it is involved with Vast in the Qara Dagh license as operator (and 10% equity holder in Vast). News on QD is fairly short term.

And lets not forget the current "Jewel in the Crown" of India.

Oh, before we get to the tour of the NKO goodies, I should say a couple of other things. NKO also pays a dividend!! Okay, a miniscule one but its there. NKO is ISA’ able and shouldn’t pose any real trouble trading with decent liquidity, as you would expect for a $4.5bn market cap.

One of my niggles with the company though is that they are not the most transparent with regard to information. There does, however, seem to have been a realisation of this with the level of communications improving significantly of late. 


Without doubt, the discovery of the giant gas fields in Block D6 in the Krishna Godavari Basin (KG) by Reliance (90%) was the making of Niko and is the foundation for the company’s current wealth of opportunities.

D6 has 40Tcf in place and is currently producing around 1.7 Bcf/d and 20k bpd of liquids. There are 23 undeveloped discoveries (with many more explo targets) in the block which will allow for further increases of gas production to the peak which is estimated to be 2.8bcf/d. However, the shares took a knock with the Q3 results due to the lower production from D6 than had been expected. This was due to a dispute (ongoing) between Reliance and the Indian Govt. over price and development.

D6 gas is sold under long term sales agreement at $4.2 per mcf as mandated by the Govt. Other producers are receiving $8 or better and end users are paying up to $11 per mcf or LNG. Obviously there is an argument for the price being higher and increased production as a result. This would be very positive for NKO’s cash flow, which, as mentioned above, already allows them to cover their planned activity across the portfolio.

A key development was the announcement of the BP deal to take a 30% in 23 of Reliance’s Indian oil and gas blocks (including the 3 in which Niko is a partner) for $7.2bn initially. This triggered an option whereby NKO can increase its own interest by 30% i.e. from 10% to 13% in D6. This is very likely to happen and would be funded by debt. Again, this is positive from cash flow and valuation metrics.

NEC25 in the Bay of Bengal is another block where NKO has 10% (with a potential to go to 13% due to BP). 15 discoveries to date with many additional explo targets.

D4 is a giant of a block at 4.2m acres. NKO have 15% (can go to 19.5% due to BP). 4,400km2 of 2D and 3,500 of 3D has been completed and a three well program is slated for this year (2011). The block is seen by many as being a potential D6 or even bigger.

India looks to be a very solid core and financial driver for NKO’s exploration program. This is what interest me most of all given the sheer scale of what is being pursued. What really interests me is the fact that the company has giant partners and has secured good farm ins from the likes of Repsol that mitigate financial exposure whilst still retaining very material stakes.


Niko have been working on Indonesia for many years now, carrying out a 400,000 km2 Multi Beam survey between Dec 2006 and April 2008. They applied their own Sea Seep technology to find seeps and then use this to focus their attention on areas where there was an active petroleum system. On top of this Niko has a database of 70,000 km of 2D, 11,000 km2 of 3D, 110,000 line km of grav and mag data, 5,000 km2 of aeromag data and over 3,000 Sea Seep geochem analysis of cores taken in relation to the multibeam survey. In short, they have a lot of data.

That isn’t enough for Niko though, they are about to start a second multibeam survey over 300,000 km2 using the latest generation equipment generated by the US Navy who developed it with one of the Niko Indonesian tech team seconded (a very good vote of confidence there). This new survey should, as a result be conducted quicker and offer better resolution. Given the attention being given to the area by the majors, agreements have been put in place to swap drilling data to the benefit of all. These companies include – Exxon, Marathon, Conoco, Statoil, Talisman, Murphy and Hess.

Another possible advantage for Niko is that they have built up their acreage via strategic acquisitions. For example Voyager Energy’s team had worked on Indonesia for much of their working careers, often with each other. Black Gold added another technical team. Of the 60 odd employees in country, 35 are techs. The majority of the team had worked together at Unocal before it was bought out by Chevron. Whilst at Unocal the team were very active, drilling roughly 150 deep water wells in SE Asia (mostly Indonesia) between 1,000m and 2,400m water depths.

We have just had the first of the announcements from the company of Independent Resource Estimates on 3 of the 16 licenses carried out by Netherland Sewell.   Further announcements on the remaining 13 licenses will be released regularly from here on in.



Prospective Resources (P50mmbbls)


Low CoS

High CoS

Mid CoS

SE Ganal






N Makassar







West Sageri








Niko has 100% WI in SE Ganal and North Makassar Strait with 50% in West Sageri.

Volume calcs were based on a 50% prob that each prospect is oil and 50% gas.

NS calculated the CoS for each prospect. Mid is Niko’s mean of low and high estimates.












That is just the first 3 blocks. The 16 blocks cover 19.7 million acres and it is the largest leaseholder other than the government. In addition, Niko is in various stages of discussions for 5 farm-ins and two bids (open tenders) that could push up the number of blocks to 23 by the end of the year (2011). Remember that Niko have always said that they would not acquire a block unless it had at least 1 bn boe potential.

The company has said that it is planning a 3 year continuous drilling program in the country from late Q4 2011, probably Q1 2012. This is just in respect of the blocks where they are the operator. Other non operated blocks will see activity, adding to the number of wells to be drilled. The Partners are, it has to be said, big – Repsol, Marathon and Exxon. Marathon’s Bone Bay well should be the first to spud.

The company should benefit from being able to offer a long term contract and so should be able to get advantageous day rates. Given the range of prospects (water depth etc) Niko will most likely draft in a second rig from time to time to tackle the shallow water wells.


Yesterday, Niko announced that it has signed three new PSCs,

bringing the total up to 8. Again, like Indonesia, Niko is the largest leaseholder outside the government. The announcement relating to the new PSCs gives a breakdown of the licences, interests and acreage.

The offshore fields are mainly gas orientated and the partners on two of the blocks include RWE and BG, both sensible with a view to any commercialisation of any discovery since both have major experience with LNG around the world. BG is also part of the consortium that owns the Atlantic LNG facility in Trinidad as is Repsol, which is, of course, a major partner of Niko in Indonesia.

Looking at the various licenses, the Central Range Block (CRB), 2AB and Guayaguayare blocks are on trend with the prolific E Venezuela Basin which extends to the East of Trinidad and includes the Angostura gas/condensate discovery (80M bbls and 1tcf).

A new 1,200 km2 3D survey is ongoing in Block 2AB to supplement the older 3D data it already has. The new data will verify what the company has already identified form the older generation with 2 prospects that stand out. The first is the Stalin with a risked est. recoverables of 200M bbls to 500M bbls and a second, Shadow, being a shale play.

In the CRB, Niko has already identified similar prospects to those seen on 2AB from the 2D data it shot 18 months ago. We should see the first of two wells (at least) spud in the Shallow Horizon CRB in the next month or so.

Guayaguayare is, like the CRB, split shallow and deep with several features already identified. 3D seismic is to be acquired and the first well will be likely on the Deep Beach prospect in Q1 2012.

NCMA2 & NCMA3 are immediately East of 3 producing gas fields, Poinsetta, Hibiscus and Chaconia, which are estimated to have 5Tcf recoverable which is being delivered to the Atlantic LNG terminal. Niko is teaming up with Centrica, who own NCMA4 (and is also NKO’s partner in 2AB)  to shoot 4,600 km2 of 3D over the two blocks, 2,900 of which will cover all of NCMA2 & NCMA3 starting in Q3 and likely to run to Q1 2012.

The “RNS” re the new blocks doesn’t actually cover it but NKO has a 25% interest in Block 5(c) which was acquired in December last year.[1].pdf  This block already has 3 gas discoveries on it. The block offsets the producing Dolphin field (BG and Chevron) again producing to the Atlantic terminal. The Victory 1 well was tested in December 2007 with two tests on two different formations. The first tested 40-45mmcf/d and the second did 30 mmcf/d and both tests were constrained by equipment. In mid 2008, Bounty 1 tested at a stabilised 60mmcf/d (2.5km East of Victory). Endeavour 1, some 8.4km North of Bounty 1, tested 60mmcf/d. All three wells were suspended but could ultimately be put on production. NKO’s estimates are that the 3 discoveries total up to 2.5Tcf with several undrilled structures remaining on the block.

Block 4(c) is immediately to the North of Block 5(c) with 1,000 km2 of 3D available. Already several channel fairways and stacked sands have been identified.


Some people get excited by Kurdistan, others don’t. I tend to fall into the later category given the seemingly never-ending political wrangling between the KRG and the Iraqi Oil Ministry which makes commercialising any discovery a dream at the moment. Nevertheless, NKO has a 37% interest in the Qara Dagh well being drilled by Vast Exploration. It also holds a 10% interest in Vast itself.

Recent update on the QD1 well, (which spudded on 12 May 2010) was positive with the logs showing 143 m of possible pay in the Upper Cretaceous (Tanjero and Upper Shiranish formations). The top of the Shiranish is the first of the three initial primary Cretaceous targets estimated to be at 3420m. Increased florescence and gas readings were seen in cuttings which could suggest oil or liquids.

The well had been drilled to 3558m with a 7” liner set. The plan is to now drill on to the TD of 4200m which some analysts think means it may not drill through the deeper Qamchuqa formation. This would reduce the potential In Place numbers but the Unrisked IP nos were estimated by AJM to be 2.25 bn bbls so we are talking big numbers here. There is also the Aliiji formation which was drilled through in July 2010 that had a 64m net pay zone with strong indications of hydrocarbons. This will be tested as part of the overall testing program which is expected to be completed in June.

As I say, Kurdistan is not the main reason for holding NKO in my opinion, but a discovery here would be potential material but there are the risk re government and also a possible repeat of HOIL where the initial positives (for oil) turned into a multi tcf gas play).

A second well planned for the block will not be drilled until mid 2012.


Niko has 4 blocks (100% WI) in the Indus Basin, the second largest fan system in the world. The blocks total 2.45M acres and NKO has 2,000 km2 of 3D data from 2 separate programs.

Pakistan has long been a frustration for the international oil companies with recent offshore explo activities disappointing. The previous drilling has focussed on the shallow Miocene whereas Niko is looking to opportunities it has identified in the Cretaceous to pre Miocene levels. Positive AVO responses have been noted on several Eocene channel prospects as leads on Palaeocene carbonate build-ups with at least 20 opportunities being identified to date from the different play types. There is no drilling location planned yet since the company has to complete the 3D analysis. The first of a 2 well program is planned for early Q1 next year (2012) and they are sourcing a rig and tubulars. Water depth here isn’t a problem (mostly sub 200M). Whilst a 4km well would cost roughly $40M, Niko has 100$ so I would expect to see a farm down to say 50% to mitigate costs.


Over the course of the next month, Niko should complete the processing of the 3,200km2 of 3D that it acquired last year (2010). It also has around 10,000km2 of multibeam data available. A variety of play types (stratigraphic and Cretaceous channels) have been identified and oil seeps processed during the multibeam acquisition provide evidence of an active petroleum system extending out from the big heavy oil fields on shore. The first explo well could spud in H2 2012. Given the recent experience of investors and companies in Madagascar (MOIL) and the political problems of the country, I don’t attach any real value (yet).


I didn’t really know where to put Bangladesh. It’s a cash flow situation really, not massively material to the upside story for the company with most analysts carrying around the $3/shr PV10. Onshore operations with the main Block 9 (60% WI) operated by Tullow. Current production (gross is 120M scf/d).


Well that’s about it for now. That puts a bit more “meat” on the bones (or into the thread header anyway). Apologies for any spelling, grammar and other errors but hopefully that gives everyone a better idea about the company.

Disclosure. We do hold a goodly chunk of NKO stock

Filed Under: Niko Resources, Oil, Energy,


The opinions expressed by the author are those made by him personally as an individual and not in any professional capacity. 

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136 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

uncommon13 26th May '11 97 of 136

In reply to uncommon13, post #96

Researching a bit more, Sonde Resources's 1st quarter results released yesterday mentioned this:

In Trinidad, the Company has received correspondence indicating the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs agreement to proceed with the sale of Block 5(c) and the Mayaro-Guayaguayare Bay Block Exploration and Production license to Niko Resources Ltd. (“Niko”). The necessary documents are being
prepared to guarantee the transfer from Sonde to Niko under the direction of the Ministry.

Block 5(c) is 75% owned by the BG group with three drills in the block encountering hydrocarbons and successfully tested although commerciality is being assessed.

Edit: Opps, this is old news announced initially in Dec last year which I forgot about and Darron has already put the information in the header of this thread...oh well, need some sleep and I'm off to bed..

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djpreston 26th May '11 98 of 136

Don't worry Uncommon, its easy to lose track of what's going on in Niko's vast empire.

I'm just glad that there's someone else chipping in on the thread.


Fund Management: European Wealth
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moniclub 8th Jun '11 99 of 136

"A rise in natural gas output from the D6 block in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin, India’s largest gas reservoir operated by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), may not be possible in the next 36 months. This is the view of both RIL and its Canadian partner Niko Resources Ltd, as well as the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the nodal agency for development of hydrocarbon assets in India"...


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marben100 10th Jun '11 100 of 136

Cross-post to webcast event at which Niko (amongst many other favourites :0)) will be presenting:

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mallwood 13th Jun '11 101 of 136

May be able to gallop, but can still trip over a few times! 6.8% decline in reserves due to "Technical revisions and economic factors"

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djpreston 14th Jun '11 102 of 136

Bad day to release less than great news.

Have to agree with this view from a broker:

Although the 6.8% y/y decline in 2P reserves is slightly negative, strong pricing has resulted in NKO's NPV of future net revenues remains relatively unchanged. Additionally, this 2P figure does not include contingent resources from 20 satellite discoveries at D6, 15 discoveries at NEC 25 or 3 discoveries at the 5c Block in Trinidad and Tobago. Further, reported reserves do not include the impact of recent deep drilling success at Hazira.

That's a lot of discoveries not yet in reserves.

Fund Management: European Wealth
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uncommon13 15th Jun '11 103 of 136

In reply to djpreston, post #102

Investigations into the inflated costs of some Indian fields possibly affecting D6 and Cairn India:

However, today's news is that the oil ministry has rejected D6's inflated costs investigation :)

Government officials also said the CAG had overlooked the fact that Reliance's higher expenditure was linked to doubling of its gas output to 80 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd).

I wish the UK government understands the below point which the Indian government highlights:

Another official said the CAG had assessed the complex issue from an accounting perspective, but the government also wanted the national auditor to factor in the oil industry's concerns that exploration was a high-risk business and private companies would invest only if they were allowed reasonable returns on their risk capital.

But if there is no discovery, the operator bears the loss alone, making it a high-risk business, for which investors seek commensurate rewards.


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marben100 15th Jun '11 104 of 136

In reply to djpreston, post #102

Ed Sampson addressed the reserves issue in today's presentation. AIUI it's mostly to do with the fiscal regime in India: higher prices tend to reduce bookable reserves, apparently.

Roll on the drilling programme (and perhaps some interesting Qara Dagh results (it;s currently being tested).

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mallwood 16th Jun '11 105 of 136

I've not had a chance to listen to the webcast yet (it wasn't up when I tried to see it last night and have to go to work this morning), but going by comments on the ADVFN Vast board they suggested that they were thinking of going deeper.

Now I wasn't aware that you could test some bits of the well and then go back down and have another go. Does anyone with industry knowledge know how this will affect testing (in particular, does it preclude getting flow rates? Not such an issue for NKO, but massive for VST).

My rose-tinteds lead me to think that when comparing cuttings to the seismic they think that one of the other prospects is just below their current TD, but going by VSTs 20% drop at one point yesterday, I guess some people are reading into it that they haven't found what they were looking for.

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marben100 23rd Jun '11 106 of 136

Prelim results for 2010 due today, according to my diary. As they're not out yet, I presume they'll be released after hours in Canada. Meantime, seems that the neighbours are getting busy (published 21st June):

MUMBAI: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to invest $7.7 billion to develop its gas field in the KG Basin, adjoining Reliance's prolific D-6 block, and produce up to 30 million cubic meters aday in five years. It plans to drill eight additional wells in the block to maximize output from the deep-sea field in the Bay of Bengal and has sought approval for the plan from the directorate general of hydrocarbons and the petroleum ministry...




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djpreston 24th Jun '11 108 of 136


The use of a car and a trip to Canada and the US!!

Not quite a suitcase of DoLlar bills or a Berlusconi Island villa full of very young, errr, girls is it?

Fund Management: European Wealth
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uncommon13 24th Jun '11 109 of 136

In reply to Mattybuoy, post #107

A bit more detail:

The Mounties' case against Niko centres around alleged gifts for a junior energy minister in Bangladesh, AKM Mosharraf Hossain. In 2005, at a time when Mr. Hossain was responsible for assessing what compensation Niko should provide to villagers after an explosion at one of the company's drilling sites, a new Toyota Land Cruiser, purchased by Niko, was delivered to his house. At the time, Niko said that it had provided the luxury SUV to its partner in Bangladesh, the state-owned gas company known as BAPEX, and denied having any knowledge about the luxury SUV's ultimate destination.

The Globe has also learned that a family trip to New York taken by Mr. Hossain and his family is central to the RCMP's case.

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djpreston 24th Jun '11 110 of 136

One small bit of news is that NKO have completed the acquisition of Black 5(c) off Trinidad.

Now the deal is done, we should see more information start to emerge re the pans for this (and the other 6 blocks).

Fund Management: European Wealth
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TheFurryOne 24th Jun '11 111 of 136

In reply to djpreston, post #108

True. But it still cost them a pretty penny:

Oil and gas company Niko Resources Ltd. was fined almost $9.5 million Friday after admitting in court that it bribed a Bangladeshi government minister with the use of a vehicle and a trip to North America.

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mallwood 27th Jun '11 112 of 136

And now we have some Canuck lawyers attempting to launch a class action suit on "the disclosures, stock option practices and foreign business practices" of Niko. (no additional info in it, though)

Does anyone have any experience of this kind of thing and how much it's likely to cost? Seems a bit crazy for shareholders to sue the company they own themselves.

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Mattybuoy 29th Jun '11 113 of 136

This happens all the time in the US. Literally. Not so sure about Canada, I did imagine they might be a bit more sensible, being subjects of the Queen and everything ... ;-)

Anecdotally I believe that these suits rarely produce anything more than fees for the ambulance-chasing lawyers.

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marben100 25th Aug '11 115 of 136

Q1 Results (1st April - 30th June) now out (61pp):



• Natural gas production from the D6 Block averaged 170 MMcf/d compared to the Company’s F2012 forecast of 158 MMcf/d.

• Mechanical problems at Block 9 resulted in natural gas production of 55 MMcf/d during the quarter compared to a F2012 forecast of 62 MMcf/d. Gas production from Block 9 returned to 63 MMcf/d by mid-July.

• Operating cash flow in the quarter was $79 million and in line with the Company’s forecast for fiscal 2012.

• The Company adopted international financial reporting standards (IFRS). Please see note 24 to the consolidated financial statements for a detailed reconciliation of Canadian GAAP to IFRS.

• Earnings for the quarter under IFRS were $2.9 million before the $57.9 million loss related to a change in accounting estimate with respect to deferred income taxes as discussed in detail in "Segment Profit – India – Income Taxes" in the Company’s management’s discussion and analysis.


• Indonesia: Planning for drilling activities commenced and Niko expects to award a drilling contract late September 2011. In early August, Niko received a prospective resource report for its Kofiau block. The report shows a best estimate gross unrisked prospective resources of 787 million barrels of oil equivalent. To date, the Company has received prospective resource reports on four of its sixteen blocks in Indonesia. Total best estimate of gross unrisked prospective resources for the four blocks is 4.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent. See more detailed discussion below.

• Trinidad: The Company increased its exploration acreage in Trinidad with three new offshore blocks, all of which are in proximity to producing gas fields, and entered into an agreement, which closed subsequent to year-end, to acquire a 25 percent working interest in Block 5(c), located 94 kilometres off the east coast of Trinidad. In addition, drilling has now commenced on the Central Range Block.

• Kurdistan: The Qara Dagh well has been drilled to a depth of 3,908 metres, log evaluated and flowed marginal volumes of light oil. The Company intends to deepen the well to 4,150 metres. In August, the Company increased its interest in the block from 37 percent to 49 percent for a total cost of $9 million. The transaction is subject to approval by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

• India: Development drilling on the D6 Block recommenced in July 2011.


So, 4.6bn boe unrisked for just four out of 16 Indonesian blocks - tasty! Good to see development drilling in D6 moving forward - should reverse declines in the block seen over the last year. Nevertheless, the 2012 forecast is for a further (slight) decline in production. Disappointment at Qara Dagh (so far).

Cashflow - before spending $78.1 to acquire Trindidad Block 5(c) - was a satisfactory $57.6m for the quarter, net of CAPEX and explo costs.



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djpreston 30th Aug '11 116 of 136

BP Deal with Reliance completed.

Now the clock begins on whether Niko will buy the additional 30% (of their existing interest) that they are allowed to.

Fund Management: European Wealth
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