Venture Production Company Announces Private Placement by 3i, Lime Rock, and Prospect Investment Management


ABERDEEN, UK, November 21, 1999 – New generation oil company Venture Production has raised over $30 million in new equity through a private placement to fund further acquisitions and ongoing development activity in Trinidad and the UKCS. The placement comprises a mix of both US and UK private investors and includes a substantial follow-on contribution from 3i Group plc, Europe’s leading venture capital company and an original investor in Venture. Other prominent new investors include Lime Rock Partner, a private equity fund specialising in energy investments, and clients of Prospect Investment Management Limited, a private equity advisory company based in London.

Venture Production Company has also secured a $10 million, five-year credit facility with the Bank of Scotland. In addition, the company has now formally become the operator of the Brighton Marine field offshore Trinidad, and strengthened its management team with four senior appointments.

Mike Wagstaff, formerly a Managing Director with Schroders in New York, has been appointed Finance Director. Jon Murphy, previously a senior manager at LASMO plc, has been appointed as an executive director responsible for day-to-day operations and business planning.

On the operational and business development side, Andy Bostock, formerly with Talisman Energy, takes up the role of General Manager for the North Sea with Jim Lee-Young, formerly with British-Borneo, filling a similar role in Trinidad.

“This is a very exciting time for the company with encouraging progress being made on a number of fronts,” commented Venture Chief Executive Bruce Dingwall. “Our placement was extremely successful and attracted two new ‘blue chip’ institutional investors. We have recently begun an intensive onshore development drilling campaign in Trinidad and are well advanced with our UKCS plans.”

“Our management team is now in place and is made up of an exceptional group of aligned, motivated and internationally experienced individuals who have an excellent mix of financial, technical and operating skills. We will be working aggressively to maximise returns on existing assets, to build on our significant presence in Trinidad and to enter the North Sea business arena.”

Venture was awarded a 55% working interest in the Brighton Marine and Guapo Bay licence late last year and negotiation of the various Joint Venture and Operating Agreements was recently concluded with the Ministry of Energy and Petrotrin, the national oil company. The 15,000 acre (60 sq. km.) lease contains in excess of 500 million barrels of oil in place and has 9 platforms and over 200 wells.

Using modern technology, innovative commercial and operating practices, Venture plan to take Brighton production up to over 3000 boepd by the end of 2000, a tenfold increase over the production level at signing. During the five weeks since signature production has already been taken from under 300 boepd to over 500 boepd. A local office has been established in south Trinidad to manage all Trinidadian activity.

Venture was originally formed to target the development of ‘stranded’ North Sea oil and gas reserves through the integration of advanced production technology, modern operating practices and new commercial philosophies. Its operations in Trinidad complement its planned North Sea activities by providing a steady low risk, low cost production profile and operating track record both on and offshore.

Schroder & Co Inc. of New York advised Venture on the private placement.

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