No. of Recommendations: 44
But I suppose the relationship is just about sufficiently distant that insider dealing rules do not apply [is this true?]

Plainly it is, otherwise they wouldn't have bought whilst the company is itself in a pre-results close period (to say nothing of a pre-drilling result closed period!)

Just to put this in context, Pontoil was the lead shareholder in Torobex acquired by SOCO in July 1999. Torobex was an SPV comprising a group of industry investors with established relationships in the ME and N & W Africa with expectations of securing assets in those areas. Torobex consisted of :-

Pontoil (Contini)
Alpidorica (Vannucci - originally 20% holder EIS)
Quantic (RdS and Samy Maroun - later joined by Maugein)
New Falcon (RdS)
Chemsa (Maugein)
Salamander (Maroun? - not the better known oilco)
SIIF (sold out early about 6 years ago)

By early 2000, Torobex members held c.29% of SOCO and treated as concert party but in Jan 2002 the Torobex shareholders agreement was terminated :-
hence, they were all freed from insider status bar New Falcon, Quantic and Chemsa (subsequently freed up on Maugein's death). Quantic also freed up after Maugein took half of RdS's 50% interest (Maroun 50%), thus general interest non-reportable under 3%. Samy Maroun is Torobex's man in the Congo.

Pontoil goes back a long way, registered in Liberia IIRC. Strong relationships in Libya and Iraq, source of crude for IES's Mantua refinery. Slick operator closely associated with Trafigura (and the Maugein brothers) over the years.

As an aside, what do Fools reckon SOCO's attitude would be if PV refused to ratify the agreed TGD appraisal area? Not really expecting that to happen but as said before, PV might well feel it's to their advantage to do so. SOCO would surely move immediately to an auction of the SV assets without further ado. Would we not expect Pontoil to be wholly aware of that possibility when they made their recent purchases? One other point, discount factors make a hell of a difference to NAV's. Around here, pretty well all valuations have at best been set at 9%. Worth reminding readers that Tristone reported not so long ago that Talisman based their assumptions on 6%...that makes a difference of around $4/bbl to the good. At $90 oil that's $23.50/bbl vs $19.50. Account for the TGT-6X discovery (let alone what the current 7X may have to offer)upgrading reserves a weensy bit and that reads through as £17+ per share for established booked Viet reserves, writing off everything else. Pontoil are no mugs!!
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