Rialto Energy (LON:RIA) is a dual listed (ASX/AIM:RIA) oil and gas exploration company focused on the West Coast of Africa, notably in Ghana on a 12.5% participating interest alongside Ophir, and in Côte d’Ivoire, where Rialto is the Operator holding a 85% working interest in the CI-202 offshore block. Rialto Energy also hold a 12% working interest in the WA-399-P exploration permit, which is located in the Exmouth Sub-Basin on the North West Shelf, offshore Western Australia, alongside Apache the operators, where a commitment well is expected in 2014.

Rialto had a mixed year with the drill bit in 2012 and in November Rob Shepherd was appointed as interim Chief Executive Officer replacing Mr. Jeff Schrull who stepped down in order to relocate. Rob Shepherd previously held the position of Finance Director at AIM Listed, African focussed, Dominion Petroleum, which was acquired by Ophir Energy for around US$220 million in February 2012.

Following the recent quarterly report and a visit to the Perth office, Rob Shepherd the Rialto Energy interim CEO has taken time out to discuss various aspects of the business, including, the West African licences, updated CPR, 2012 review, 2013 work programme and funding options.

As always, when looking at oil and gas exploration activity the risk element is high, and a dry or non-commercial well almost certainly results in a severe share price drop. Oil and gas exploration activity is also very costly business, hence the future economic outlook and the ability of an exploration company such as Rialto Energy to raise future capital to fund licence commitments along with its overheads also needs serious consideration, alongside factors such as oil/gas price risk, political risk, country/region stability etc.

Q1. Briefly, could you describe Rialto Energy’s history, business model and mission?
As I only joined the Company in late November, I am probably not the most qualified to describe Rialto’s history since inception. However, in terms of mission and business model, I think it is fundamentally about delivering optimum value to our shareholders. Our basic strategy is to identify and mature high impact exploration prospects and to mature potentially commercial discoveries. This does not mean we will always be drilling our prospects or developing our discoveries. If shareholder value can better be delivered by other means then we will look to pursue those…

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