Det Norske’s Outgoing CEO Sees Value Doubling on Output Surge
Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA (DETNOR) outgoing Chief Executive Officer Erik Haugane said the shares will double by 2015 as reserve estimates are set for the Johan Sverdup oilfield and the company becomes a full-fledged producer.
The 59-year-old, who will next year step down as CEO of the company he founded in 2001, said he will remain a shareholder through his investment company, Koerven AS, which holds 724,414 shares. That represents 0.57 percent of the Trondheim-based company, which is valued at 10.3 billion kroner ($1.8 billion).
“A good deal of the market has short-term investment horizons,” he said in an interview. “I’m at least going to make sure I’m sitting with quite a few shares since I know the upturn is coming.”
The stock has already more than tripled since the company announced the first find on its side of what is now known as the Johan Sverdrup field, which may hold 3.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Statoil ASA (STL), which owns 40 percent of both blocks that contain the field, has said new reserve estimates will be released early next year, while a development plan is due in 2014 and an output start in 2018.
Det Norske is transforming itself from an exploration company into an oil producer as pumping is scheduled from fields such as Jette in March next year and Ivar Aasen in 2016. Ivar Aasen, of which Det Norske holds 35 percent, could yield 25,000 barrels of oil a day at its peak in 2018, compared to the company’s output of about 800 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the third quarter, according to its website.
By 2014, when the Sverdrup plan is released and Aasen is two years away from production, it will be “sufficiently short- term for the markets to start to react,” he said.
Swedbank First Securities analyst Teodor Sveen Nilsen, who has a buy recommendation and a target price of 130 kroner, estimated the company’s production will grow to as much as 26,000 barrels a day in 2017 and more than 80,000 barrels a day in 2021.
The shares have dropped from a record close of 98.5 kroner on Sept. 14 to 81.25 kroner as of the 4:30 p.m. close in Oslo.
Det Norske said in October that Haugane would leave after a mutual agreement. Aker ASA (AKER), the biggest owner with 49.99 percent of the shares, said the company needed to improve operationally and strengthen its team in order to become a full oil producer.
Det Norske took a 1.9 billion write-down on the North Sea Jette project in the third quarter after technical problems with a production well. Chairman Svein Aaser said in an interview that organizational changes could in hindsight have been made before the development of the field started.
Haugane said his stepping down had nothing to do with Jette since the departure had been agreed on before the difficulties. He said he would now seek to sit on boards at Norwegian companies and would be unlikely to seek an executive post at a rival company. Det Norske will also likely be his only investment, he said.
“I’m not an investor type,” he said. “It’s not very exciting.”
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