Sunday, December 18, 2011

Manas Petroleum (MNAP) Drilling Three Oil Locales

I would never have thought that abundant oil could be found in Mongolia, the 'Stans Fergana Basin, and Albania.  Manas Petroleum (MNAP) is betting there's enough liquid black gold in those places to justify drilling programs. 

I'm confused about their corporate structure.  The one guy in the executive team who has any experience in oil, Dr. Werner Ladwein, has recently been named President in a move that supersedes the other corporate officers, including the CEO.  That's just as well, because the CEO and other execs all have finance and consulting backgrounds.  That lack of experience shows through in the company's financial results so far, with annual net losses going back to 2007.  Maybe Dr. Ladwein can turn things around. 

Their Mongolian property is probably worth further exploration as it surrounds known fields where Sinopec is producing.  Hopefully they can stay financially solvent long enough to maintain a focused drill program there; they've had negative free cash flow for four quarters straight.  The Fergana Basin properties in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan look attractive due to significant producing properties in the vicinity and road/rail/pipeline networks in place.

It is important to note that Manas vended its Albanian property to Petromanas Energy (PENYF) in exchange for cash and equity.  Many of Manas' directors serve on Petromanas' board as well.  Petromanas, although still a penny stock, is the more successful of the two strictly in financial terms.  Petromanas is earning $0.02/share versus Manas' -$0.31/share.  Farming out the more stable Albanian property gave Manas the cash it needed to continue its drilling program, and Manas can still benefit from Petromanas' Albania drilling. 

Manas is a young, high risk investment.  Its properties in Asia are currently considered "risked" because they are not producing fields.  A complete drill program in 2012 is needed to determine whether a producing partner will find the fields worthwhile. 

Full disclosure:  No positions in any companies mentioned.