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Highlands Natural Resources Plc: THE INVESTMENT CASE

Highlands Natural's projects offer multiple routes to goal

As well as commercialising well technology, Highlands also produces from its own operations.
Highlands is targeting the Permian Basin with its drilling tech

Highlands Natural Resources Plc (LON:HNR) has a number of strings to its bow, all of which offer the potential of substantial upside.

Drilling technology

A test of its DT Ultravert technology at a parent well in the US’s Permian basin was completed successfully in February.

The technology has shown it can restore reservoir pressure in both horizontal and vertical wells used in the ‘fracking’ process.

The process involves the injection of nitrogen gas into an existing well at the same time as a new nearby well is fracked.

It is designed to prevent the older well from being damaged (known as bashing) by the new one.

HNR holds 75% ownership in patents of the DT Ultravert technology, which has a net present value (NPV10) potential of between US$78mln to US$135mln subject to further testing and commercialisation.

According to Highlands chief executive Robert Price, the testing of DT Ultravert in the Permian basin, which he described as “the most important shale play in the United States today”, will catch the attention of the company’s peers in the industry.

Production milestones surpassed in East Denver

The company isn’t just in the business of commercialising well technology, it also produces from its own operations.

In April, HNR said it had secured a natural gas sales deal for its East Denver Niobrara project in Colorado.

The project, as of the period ended March 31, has generated net revenue of US$3.8mln, with production figures placing it within the top 3% of all Niobara wells in Colorado.

The Wildhorse and Powell wells, located within the East Denver project, surpassed a milestone of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 64 days following initial production in December 2017.

HNR has also received permission to increase the number of wells at the project up to eight.

The project can also count on a US$58.5mln commitment from a US oil and gas focused private equity group to support an expansion of up to 24 wells at the site.

According to HNR, the East Denver project has an NPV10 range for six wells of between US$23.3mln to US$30.1mln.

An estimate for the full 24 wells sees this estimate increase to between US$96.6mln to US$124.5mln.

To put that into context, Highlands’ market cap stands at £26.9mln at 21.1p.

Gas and helium potential in Montana

HNR also has its own gas operation in the form of the Helios Two project in Montana.

While still in production testing, an update on 1 February revealed that gas production rates had “intermittently peaked” at up to 216,000 cubic feet per day of gas.

A 2017 assessment provided an NPV of the project of up to US$341mln across a 69,120-acre area.

At a recent federal auction, HNR acquired an additional 116,488 acres of the project area, expanding its footprint to 221,973 acres.

In addition to the gas reserves, helium has also been discovered at the project with a content of 0.36%, similar to the Hugoton gas field in Kansas.

If developed, HNR expects the helium resource to provide a strong upside to the NPV of Helios Two.

A US$8.5mln programme is expected to advance development of the project which could see up to 24 wells in place.

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