Hardman AGM goes smoothly

Hardman shareholders were told their company was going to drill up to 11 offshore wells in 2003 by managing director Ted Ellyard at this morning's AGM at the Burswood Convention Centre in Perth.

He said five of these would probably be in Mauritania and at least four in the Perth Basin.

At the AGM shareholders passed resolutions approving a rise in directors fees and an options issue for their recently appointed UK-based director, Peter Raven.

The motion was passed with no dissenting voters and, in discussion preceding the vote, chairman Alan Burns said Raven had worked long and hard on the recent UK placement to earn the increase. "The director's fees have not been increased since 1996," he said.

Burns also referred to the volatility of the Hardman share price. "We seem to be going through a wobbly time, which seems to happen every year. We need the market to understand Hardman is not a once a year show any more."

One shareholder queried Burns on the report in EnergyReview.net yesterday that ASIC had launched an investigation into share trading in Hardman stock.

"The first thing we heard about it was at 5 o'clock last night," he said. "It has nothing to do with the company. We have a volatile stock so sooner or later we're bound to be looked at." He said they were trying to get details from ASIC.

"We might try to get our drilling order right next year and drill the dry hole at the start of our campaign rather than the end," he said, referring to the Thon exploration well which was non-commercial. That result included, Hardman still had a 75% drilling success rate in the area.

Ellyard said most of their share of the capital expenditure for Chinguetti would be project financed. The total capital expenditure was around US$500-600 million. He said ANZ had put together a team to look at the financing package.

Woodside and Agip are working as a combined team on the development, with a design team being based in Milan. Tenders will be called in September 2003 for the production facilities contracts with the aim of them being awarded in March 2004.

First oil from Chinguetti is scheduled for mid 2005.