• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Dingwall's island venture

Bruce Dingwall, who built Venture Production into one of the biggest independents in the North Sea, has set out to raise $90 million (£56m) to try to repeat the trick in Trinidad.

The oil and gas entrepreneur, set to return to the quoted arena as executive chairman of Trinity Exploration & Production, is spearheading the company's efforts to tap investors ahead of a big growth push.

Trinity wants to raise the money to fund the development of assets that Mr Dingwall believes could help the company achieve rapid expansion in Trinidad. While the company will be based in Trinidad, key functions will be run from Edinburgh.

Mr Dingwall believes Trinidad will provide fertile ground to pursue the strategy with which he enjoyed success at Venture. This involves acquiring and developing so-called stranded assets that are too small to attract investment from majors.

One of three founders of Venture in 1997, Mr Dingwall left in 2004 after the listed company had cut some production targets. Venture was bought by Centrica for £1.3 billion in 2009 following a five-month hostile bid battle.

Mr Dingwall developed Trinity out of assets in Trinidad and Tobago acquired from Venture in 2005. Describing the Caribbean state as a "phenomenal" petroleum province, he said the majors' focus on gas projects there had meant significant oil resources have not been developed. That left huge value to be extracted.

"We're trying to put ourselves into a prime position to take advantage and to help create that change there," said Mr Dingwall.

While Trinity will focus on Trinidad, the company may consider moving into other areas.

Asked if the company might move into the North Sea, Mr Dingwall said: "We're attempting to make headway in a basin that needs transforming. I've done that in the North Sea before. From an emotional, intellectual, technical point of view, we need to do it somewhere else."

He added: "I'm not going to do it again, others are doing it right now."

But Mr Dingwall said Trinity will draw on relationships he built in Aberdeen to help progress developments.

The company employs five people in Edinburgh.

"Screening deals, looking at deals, looking at how we finance them and building our investor relations support, et cetera will be done in Edinburgh," said Mr Dingwall.

Born to English parents in Trinidad, Mr Dingwall divides his time between Perthshire, Edinburgh and the Caribbean.

Asked if he had any qualms about returning to the quoted realm, he said: "Not at all."

Mr Dingwall said being listed helps firms win the confidence of bigger companies and governments, to raise their profiles and gain access to funding.

Trinity is due to complete a reverse, £45m takeover of AIM-listed Bayfield Energy Holdings in February, subject to approval by Bayfield's shareholders at a forthcoming general meeting. Bayfield has assets in Trinidad and an interest in a block in South Africa.

Trinity said it wants to raise $50m (£31m) through the issue of new ordinary shares to accelerate its development programme and for general corporate purposes, and up to $40m more to fund exploration work.

The enlarged company will produce around 4000 barrels oil daily following the deal. It expects to grow this to 5000 b/d by the end of 2013. "Trinity plc's assets have further development potential to deliver production beyond 10,000 bbl/d (net) in the medium term, excluding any exploration upside," said the company.

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

134391