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ASX:88E

88 Energy

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ASX:88E
- 88 Energy
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$0.002

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Investment Memo:

88 Energy (ASX:88E)

- LIVE

Opened: 20-May-2024

Shares Held at Open: 68,888,890


What does 88E do?

88 Energy Ltd (ASX:88E | OTC: EEENF) is an oil and gas exploration company with projects on the North Slope of Alaska and onshore Namibia.

What is the macro theme?

The last decade has seen massive underinvestment in new oil and gas projects in favour of renewable energy.

We think the sector is headed toward a medium-term supply/demand imbalance and expect oil and gas prices to remain elevated over the next 5-10 year period.

88E’s assets sit in the salem region as the USA’s biggest oilfield and in a part of the world that is emerging as one of the world’s most exciting oil and gas provinces.

Our Big Bet for 88E Big Bet Tooltip

88E makes a large oil discovery that is acquired by a major for over A$1BN

Why did we invest in 88E?

Projects in the North Slope, Alaska in the USA

88E holds ground in one of the oiliest places in the USA. The North Slope is home to the USA’s biggest ever onshore discovery (Prudhoe Bay) which has produced the equivalent of ~12 billion barrels of oil since discovery.

88E has confirmed discoveries

88E made two discoveries with its 2023 drill program on the North Slope of Alaska, It has proven flowing oil from two reservoirs

Nearology to Pantheon Resources

One of 88E’s projects in the US is bordering Pantheon Resources which is working up the same reservoir systems 88E has on its ground. 88E is trading at a fraction of Pantheon’s market cap.

Namibia’s fast developing oil and gas industry

recent giant discoveries offshore by TotalEnergies and Shell have put Namibia on the map when it comes to new oil discoveries. Namibia is being touted as the next Guyana where US supermajors Exxon and Hess are making discovery after discovery.

88E is farming into an onshore Namibian asset next door to Recon Africa

88E is farming into a 45% interest in ground in the same region as Recon Africa. The ground was picked up in 2018, well before any of the major discoveries made in offshore Namibia.

Namibian onshore peer re-rated by over 40x

ReconAfrica drilled its first well at its onshore Namibian project back in 2021. Between 2020 and 2021 Recon’s share price went from CAD$0.30 to CAD$12.50+.

JV partners on the Namibian assets are linked to Invictus Energy (ASX: IVZ)

IVZ director Robin Sutherland is a part of the team that are JV’ed with 88E in Namibia. Robin was also involved in EnergyAfrica, which sold to Tullow Oil for $500M in 2004 and then again with Tullow Oil as it went on to make discoveries across East Africa.

Underinvestment in global oil and gas exploration

The transition to green energy technologies has meant investment capital has shunned fossil fuel investment opportunities. In the short to medium term, the world still needs a well-balanced supply of fossil fuels to ensure an abundance of energy sources for countries all around the world.

What do we expect 88E to deliver?

Objective #1: Contingent resource estimates at Project Phoenix, USA

We want to see 88E put out contingent resource estimates for its two recent discoveries.

Milestones

not done Contingent resource estimate #1 (SFS Reservoir)

not done Contingent resource estimate #2 (SMD Reservoir)

Objective #2: Farm-out/development studies for Project Phoenix, USA

We want to see 88E layout the commercial pathway for Project Phoenix either through a farm-out/JV deal or via economic studies

Milestones

not done Farm-out/JV MOU

not done Binding farm-out/JV deal

not done Capital light development studies

Objective #3: Farm-out Project Leonis, USA

We want to see 88E announce a maiden prospective resource number and sign a farm-out deal which sees a partner fund a well for the project.

Milestones

not done Maiden prospective resource estimate

not done Farm-out/JV MOU

not done Binding farm-out/JV deal

Objective #4: Firm up drill target at the Namibian asset

We want to see 88E run the 2D seismic data acquisition program on its Namibian JV. Once completed we want to see 88E lock in a primary drill target for the project.

Milestones

not done 2D seismic program starts

not done 2D seismic program completed

not done 2D seismic results & interpretation

not done Maiden prospective resource estimate

not done Primary drill target selected

What could go wrong?

Exploration risk

A large part of 88E’s project portfolio is still full of pre-discovery assets. There is always a risk that 88E fails to make a discovery on those projects which would in turn negatively impact 88E’s share price.

Commercialisation risk

88E has now flagged to the market that it is pursuing multiple farm-out deals across several of its US assets. If 88E is not able to lock in a farm-in agreement it may be forced to self-fund the development of these assets. If 88E isnt able to deliver successfull farm-out deals its projects could stay stranded until a capital partner is found for them.

Funding risk

88E will at some point need to raise capital to fund the drilling at its Namibian asset as part of its earn-in agreement. Depending on the markets interest in oil and gas drilling events, 88E may be forced to raise capital before the major drilling event at a discount to its market price. Funding requirements could put downard pressure on 88E’s share price.

Market risk

88E is still predominantly focused on running high risk exploration programs on a recurring basis. There is always a risk that a market wide sell off will hurt 88E’s share price the most, given investors will look to withdraw capital from the high risk high reward investments in their portfolios first.

Geopolitical risk

The Namibian oil & gas sector is still fairly new in terms of maturity, there is always a risk geopolitical instability puts projects in country on hold. 88E’s US assets are also susceptible to geopolitical risk from an environmental perspective. If the US government were to put a moratorium on oil & gas exploration/development this could impact the value of 88E’s assets significantly.

Capital Structure

88E has almost 29 billion shares on issue at the moment. The bigger the share count, the higher the volatility in market cap and the harder it becomes to raise cash. At some point 88E may need to consider a consolidation which may put pressure on the company’s share price momentarily.

What is our investment plan?

With our 88E Investment, we will follow our typical oil and gas Investment Strategy, where we Invest ahead of a drilling event and de-risk our position as the event approaches.

Our plan is to invest early, months before drilling, and hold as momentum increases in the story. We will look to increase our position in 88E over the coming months while the share price is depressed after the last result.

We then seek to free carry and take some profit at drilling. Generally we always look to hold a material portion of our position going into drilling results.

This suits our Investment strategy but may not suit yours.

Always seek professional advice when investing in speculative stocks like this one.


Disclosure: The authors of this article and owners of Next Investors, S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and Associated Entities, own 68,888,890 88E shares and 6,296,297 options at the time of publication. S3 Consortium Pty Ltd has been engaged by 88E to share our commentary and opinion on the progress of our Investment in 88E over time.

Investment Memo:

88 Energy (ASX:88E)

- CLOSED

Opened: 09-Jun-2022

Closed: 22-May-2024

Shares Held at Open: 3,800,000

Shares Held at Close: 68,888,890

Reason Memo Closed:


What does 88E do?

88 Energy Ltd (ASX: 88E | OTC: EEENF) is an oil and gas exploration company focussed on a portfolio of assets in the North Slope of Alaska, USA.

What is the macro theme?

The world is moving into a period of oil and gas scarcity following multiple years of underinvestment.

The demand shock caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent oil price falls lead to a destruction in activity on the supply side. With demand now recovering, the supply-side hasn't responded, which we think will lead to oil price pressures to the upside in the medium-term.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Our Big Bet for 88E Big Bet Tooltip

88E makes a large oil discovery that is acquired by a major for over A$1BN

Why did we invest in 88E?

North Slope in Alaska - one of the most oil rich places on the planet

88E holds ~420,000 acres of exploration ground in the North Slope in Alaska. This part of the US is home to the USA’s biggest ever onshore discovery (Prudhoe Bay) which has produced the equivalent of ~12 billion barrels of oil since discovery. We want to see 88E make the next big Alaskan oil discovery.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Nearology to Pantheon Resources

88E’s Project Icewine is next door to Pantheon Resources. Pantheon has drilled three wells that all flowed light oil, demonstrating a reservoir system right along its project border with 88E. Pantheon remains active here and continues to explore near 88E. We think there is a chance 88E’s project area could be home to an extension of Pantheon’s reservoirs.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

88E does recurring high impact exploration programs

88E has drilled six wells in just over 6 years targeting large oil discoveries. We are Invested in 88E because it provides exposure to a high-risk high-reward drilling program almost every year. In the lead up to these major drilling events, we generally see the share price of 88E rise as investors start to speculate on the potential upside from the exploration event.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Underinvestment in global oil and gas exploration

The transition to green energy technologies has meant investment capital has shunned fossil fuel investment opportunities. In the short to medium term, the world still needs a well balanced supply of fossil fuels to ensure an abundance of energy sources for countries all around the world.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

What do we expect 88E to deliver?

Objective #1: Prospective resource update for Project Icewine

  • Project Icewine currently has a total independent resource of 1.77 billion barrels of oil equivalent (mean, unrisked).
  • We want to see 88E incorporate the data from all of the recent drilling next door to Project Icewine and update this number.
  • We would expect an updated and hopefully bigger resource would attract new potential farm in partners.

Milestones

complete Independent prospective resource update (due mid-2022)

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Objective #2: Funding partner for Project Icewine

  • 88E is advancing discussion on a farm out on the project.
  • We want to see 88E secure a project finance partner who comes in either via a direct equity stake in Project Icewine or via a farm out agreement.

Milestones

cancelled MOU for funding agreement

cancelled Binding funding agreement

complete Capital Raise Complete

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Objective #3: Clear Exploration Program laid out for Project Icewine

  • We want to see 88E follow up on the theory that its neighbour (London listed) Pantheon Resources’ proven reservoirs could extend into 88E’s project area, by flow testing its acreage.
  • This programme has not been defined yet and may be contingent on a funding partner coming on board (Objective #2).
  • After 88E has articulated its strategy we will revise our milestones for this objective.

[New 27-Mar-2023] Considering 88E has decided to flow test this year's well at a later date, our bull/bear case expectations for this well are relatively simple:

  • Bull case = Drill results positive enough for 88E to commit to a flow test.
  • Bear case = 88E decides not to flow test the well.

Milestones

complete Exploration program detailed

complete Drill Permits Secured

complete Drill Rig Mobilised

complete Drilling Commences at Hickory-1

complete Drilling Results

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Objective #4: Forward program for Project Peregrine detailed

We want to see the final results from the Merlin-2 well and a forward exploration program detailed.

Milestones

complete Merlin-2 results analysis

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

What could go wrong?

Exploration risk

88E is still in the exploration stage so big drilling events can have binary outcomes, risk needs to be managed going into these large binary outcomes.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Funding risk

Oil and gas is a fossil fuel, with commitments from countries all over the world to decarbonise. ESG mandates for capital are forcing some investors to divest or move capital away from the space, 88E is still in the exploration stage and requires financing to get its assets commercialised.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Regulatory risk

Whilst this is not part of 88E’s acreage, the Biden Administration suspended oil drilling licences in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year. ConocoPhillips is facing legal setbacks in bringing the Willow oil field project to production.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

Market risk

88E is still predominantly focused on running high risk exploration programs on a recurring basis. There is always a risk that a market wide sell off will hurt 88E’s share price the most, given investors will look to withdraw capital from the high risk high reward investments in their portfolios first.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A

What is our investment plan?

We have observed an increase in market speculation on the outcome of 88E drilling events every year.

We are anticipating a rise in the 88E share price either just before the next drilling event or going into the drill results.

Our plan has been to invest early, months before drilling, and hold as momentum increases in the story - we will look to increase our position in 88E over the coming months while the share price is depressed off the back of the last result.We then seek to free carry and take some profit at drilling.

We hold a portion of our position going into the drill results.

This suits our Investment strategy but may not suit yours.

Always seek professional advice when investing in speculative stocks like this one.

[Memo Assessment - 22-May-2024]: Grade = A


Disclosure: The authors of this article and owners of Next Investors, S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and Associated Entities, own 3,800,000 88E shares at the time of publication. S3 Consortium Pty Ltd has been engaged by 88E to share our commentary and opinion on the progress of our Investment in 88E over time.

Investment Memo:

88 Energy (ASX:88E)

- CLOSED

Opened: 21-Feb-2022

Closed: 09-Jun-2022

Shares Held at Open: 6,610,000

Shares Held at Close: 3,800,000

Reason Memo Closed: This memo was closed off due to Key Objective #1 failing. We have provided commentary on each of the memo items and it has been replaced by a new memo for 2022 - Update June 9 2022.


What does 88E do?

88 Energy Ltd (ASX: 88E | OTC: EEENF) is an oil and gas exploration company focussed on a portfolio of assets in the North Slope of Alaska, USA.

What is the macro theme?

The world is moving into a period of oil and gas scarcity following multiple years of underinvestment.

The demand shock caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent oil price falls lead to a destruction in activity on the supply side. With demand now recovering, the supply-side hasn't responded, which we think will lead to oil price pressures to the upside in the medium-term.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Sentiment = Unchanged

Our Big Bet for 88E Big Bet Tooltip

88E makes a large oil discovery that is acquired by a major for over A$1BN

Why did we invest in 88E?

North Slope in Alaska

88E is exploring for oil on the North Slope in Alaska - one of the “oiliest” places on the planet. This region is home to some of the largest oil fields in the US, including Prudhoe Bay - the largest onshore oil field in North America, having produced over 12 billion barrels of oil since discovery. 88E holds multiple assets with 3.4B+ barrels of oil equivalent discovery potential.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Sentiment = Unchanged

88E generally drills once a year in high risk / high reward events

88E has drilled five wells in just over 6 years targeting large oil discoveries. We are invested in 88E because it provides exposure to a high-risk high-reward drilling program every year. The 88E share price tends to perform well as 88E goes into a new drilling program. 88E is gearing up to drill the Merlin-2 Well in March 2022 targeting 652 million barrels of oil.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Grade = A

Despite the Merlin-2 drilling results returning no commercial discovery, 88E did manage to get its annual high risk high reward drilling event completed. We have therefore given it an A for living up to one of the key reasons we held 88E in our portfolio.

Nearology to ConocoPhillips Willow Oil Field

88E’s 652 million barrel prospective resource at its Peregrine Project is analogues to the Willow Oil Field owned by ConocoPhillips, the #1 oil producer in Alaska. The Willow Oil Field has a resource between 400-750 million barrels of oil equivalent and is a planned 160k barrels/day over 30-years. 88E’s exploration at the Peregrine Project is targeting a similar discovery.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Grade = C

This was one of the key reasons we were holding 88E in our portfolio leading up to the Merlin-2 drilling event. Unfortunately as is the case with most “nearology” exploration Investments, this reason failed to materialise. The Merlin-2 well failed to deliver a new discovery analogous to ConocoPhillips Willow field. We are still hoping in the future 88E re-visits Project Peregrine and tests the remaining independent prospects (Harrier/Harrier Deep).

Oil out of favour

Fossil fuels are becoming increasingly shunned by investors and is leading to a lack of investment in oil and gas exploration. The transition to green energy is expected to take longer than the markets are expecting. Oil demand is expected to remain strong in the medium-term. COVID-19 demand shock shutdown a lot of barely profitable wells and as the demand-side of the equation recovers, supply is struggling to catch up.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Grade = A

Over the course of the year, with the Russia/Ukraine conflict continuously escalating this reason for Investing has in fact strengthened. The oil price is up from ~US$78/barrel when we launched our memo to now trade at ~US$122/barrel.

What do we expect 88E to deliver?

Objective #1: THE Key Objective we want to see from 88E is to drill the Merlin-2 appraisal well at Project Peregrine.

88E will be drilling a 652 million barrels of oil equivalent target at the Merlin-2 Well in Q1-2022. The Merlin-1 well drilled in 2021 confirmed a petroleum system. Project Peregrine is analogous to ConocoPhillips Willow Oil field.

A discovery here would put 88E on the radar of the majors in the area. A lot is riding on the results of the Merlin-2 well, which is being drilled in March 2022 - the results of this well will determine what we want to see the company deliver for the rest of the year.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Grade = F

The only key objective we set for 88E as part of this Investment Memo was for the company to try and make a discovery with the Merlin-2 well, unfortunately the drilling program returned no commercial discovery and our key objective failed to deliver what we expected.

What could go wrong?

Drilling Risk

88E is still in the exploration stage so big drilling events can have binary outcomes, risk needs to be managed going into these large binary outcomes.

88E’s upcoming Merlin-2 well is an appraisal well however. Whilst not an ‘exploration’ well it is still inherently high-risk. The purpose of an appraisal well is to test a previously discovered oil and gas show. There is a chance the appraisal well returns no oil and gas.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Grade = F

This was the major risk ahead of the Merlin-2 drilling program. This risk materialised and the binary outcome went against us with no commercial oil & gas discovery being made.

Funding Risk

Oil and gas is a fossil fuel, with commitments from countries all over the world to decarbonise. ESG mandates for capital are forcing some investors to divest or move capital away from the space, 88E is still in the exploration stage and requires financing to get its assets commercialised.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Grade = B

We think that 88E managed funding risk relatively well leading up to the drilling program. Ideally we would have liked to see 88E look to bring in a farm in partner who would have funded some of the drilling costs but the fact that 88E has managed to move away from the drilling program and still have some cash left over + some cash flow producing projects acquired, we think this risk was well managed by 88E.

Regulatory risk

Whilst this is not part of 88E’s acreage, the Biden Administration suspended oil drilling licenses in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year. ConocoPhillips are facing legal setbacks in bringing the Willow oil field project to production.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Grade = A

88E didn't have any regulatory risks pop up leading up to the Merlin-2 well, but it did face some time delays due to environmental concerns from local environmental lobbyists. The risk was well managed with the drilling program being done only a few weeks late.

What is our investment plan?

We have observed an increase in market speculation on the outcome of 88E drilling events every year.

We are anticipating a rise in the 88E share price either just before the drilling of Merlin-2, or going into the Merlin-2 drill results.

Our plan has been to invest early, months before drilling, and hold as momentum increases in the story.

We then seek to free carry and take some profit at drilling.

We hold a portion of our position going into the Merlin-2 results. This suits our investment strategy but may not suit yours.

Always seek professional advice when investing in speculative stocks like this one.

[Memo Assessment - 09-Jun-2022]: Grade = B

In the lead up to the drill results we sold a portion of our Total Position in 88E in line with our Investment Plan enough to Free Carry. This de-risking before the drilling results limited our downside, whilst still providing enough upside exposure in the event that drilling was a success.

Note: this grade and assessment on the Investment plan is based on how well we stuck to our investment plan, not the outcome of the investment itself.


Disclosure: The authors of this article and owners of Next Investors, S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and associated entities, own 6,610,000 88E shares at the time of writing this investment memo. S3 Consortium Pty Ltd has been engaged by 88E to share our commentary on the progress of our investment in 88E over time.

Our Investment Summary

Date of Initial Coverage

23-Jul-20

Inital Entry Price

$0.007

Returns from Initial Entry

-71%

High Point

129%