In a short interview with the Petro Matad CEO Mike Buck, London South East had an opportunity to ask about the RNS which was released on Thursday, updating the market about progress with the Heron-1 Exploitation Licence.
In short, the Mongolian elections which were held in the second quarter saw a change of Government, with the same party winning the election but along with the win came a restructuring and some new faces. Not all the relevant sub-committees have been convened yet, and the Exploitation Licence has been caught up in those changes.
Mike was at pains to explain that although "unfortunately there have been a few bureaucratic delays. the committee which needs to review our submission next is being reconstituted. We had hoped it would be done by the end of September and we would have the Reserves Report approved, but that has not yet happened."
"However the good news is that all the feedback we are getting from the Ministry is that the committee will be constituted 'very soon', that our report is high on the agenda, and it is an urgent item for the committee to consider. All of the feedback we are getting is that we can expect an approval."
Mike went on to explain "We were fortunate and honoured to have a meeting with the new Minister shortly after he had taken up his post and he was very keen that we should progress quickly".
By way of background, the new Government have made the oil refinery project in Mongolia a key part of their Four Year Plan and want it up and running by 2024. With a 30,000 bopd capacity for feedstock and less than 20,000 bopd produced locally, Heron's 5-10,000 bopd is clearly important.
"The Government want this field on stream, appraised, approved and ready to rock and roll as soon as possible", said Mike.
Mike went on to say that the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment has been approved however, which is a very encouraging sign and a requirement for the Exploitation Licence to be granted. "As far as we are concerned its not a case of if but when".