BPH Energy focuses on oil and gas drilling as legal battle ends

BPH Energy ASX litigation resolution
The announced settlement means there is no active litigation against BPH Energy, enabling the company to focus on its plans to drill the Baleen oil and gas prospect off New South Wales.

BPH Energy (ASX: BPH) has announced a settlement of legal issues that have been ongoing since 2017, paving the way for the company to focus on drilling an oil and gas prospect offshore New South Wales.

The diversified company, which has investments in biomedical technologies, medical cannabis and the oil and gas sector, told the market today there has been a “resolution of residual legal issues” affecting both BPH and investment company Grandbridge.

As a result of the settlement, there is now no active litigation against either company.

Speaking with Small Caps, BPH managing director David Breeze said the resolution means “the company is now in a position to focus on the development of its corporate strategy”.

He said this corporate strategy includes the drilling of a well at the Baleen target in offshore Sydney Basin permit PEP 11.

Mr Breeze added that he wished to make “no continuing commentary about the [legal] matters”.

Legal battles

BPH has a 22.6% direct interest in private oil and gas explorer Advent Energy, which holds an 85% stake in petroleum exploration permit PEP11 in the offshore Sydney Basin in joint venture with Bounty Oil & Gas (ASX: BUY).

However, BPH has been involved in several legal battles with Advent’s parent entity MEC Resources (ASX: MMR).

In today’s announcement, BPH said the settlement involved three litigation matters: a 2019 Supreme Court of WA defamation proceeding against Hock Goh, Deborah Ambrosini, Heng Yu, Darryl Moore and Peter Stern; a 2017 Supreme Court of WA defamation proceeding by Ms Ambrosini, Mr Goh and Kevin Hollingsworth against Mr Breeze and Tony Lewis; and a 2019 Magistrates Court of WA misconduct restraining order against Ms Ambrosini.

BPH’s statement said each matter has been dismissed with each party expected to bear their own costs and with no admission of liability by any party.

The announcement also noted there was now a standstill agreement relating to directors fees claims by Hock Goh, Deborah Ambrosini and Kevin Hollingsworth against BPH, Grandbridge and Advent.

Mr Breeze did not elaborate on the company’s expectations of this agreement’s resolution.

Baleen prospect

According to BPH, PEP 11 contains two core prospects that have been externally assessed to have potential for unrisked (P50) prospective gas resources of 472 billion cubic feet and 2,131Bcf respectively, with “multi-trillion cubic feet upside”.

Mr Breeze said Baleen had previously been identified as a primary structural drilling target.

“During 2018, there was a site survey done at that drill target with the primary objective [being] to assess the shallow gas risk. The site survey determined that there was no issue at that drill target.”

Mr Breeze said the legal settlement now “enables us to proceed with the planning of the drilling”, which will be scheduled “during 2020”.

Joint venture partner Bounty has confirmed these drilling plans in its recent September quarterly report.