Funding emerges for company with a Cuban energy footprint

Melbana secures a multi-million dollar loan that it could use to help fund operations across its portfolio.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  April 19, 2018 at 6:31 AM
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April 19 (UPI) -- Melbana Energy, an Australian company with operations in Cuba and New Zealand, said it secured a $2.5 million loan to help finance its operations.

The company said it secured the loan through an Asian lender with a maturity date of January 10 and an annual interest rate of 15 percent.

"The loan facility will provide general working capital for the Company and was assessed to be clearly the lowest cost option currently available to Melbana to provide it with additional working capital to progress its exciting portfolio of projects," CEO Robert Zammit said in a statement Thursday.

Melbana last week completed a tender for a drilling rig that could be deployed in Cuba later this year. Bids are under review while it looks for outside partners to buy into its Cuban portfolio. Its Alameda-1 prospect near the northern coast of Cuba is targeting a reservoir with more than 2.5 billion barrels of oil in place. The company estimates it would cost at least $20 million to drill two wells in Cuba, higher than previous estimates.

The company in a share placement over the last quarter generated about $2.1 million in capital to use to fund operations in Cuba, as well as those closer to home at its Beehive prospect in New Zealand. The company said the Beehive basin is a "potentially giant" prospect.

An agreement with Petro Australis Ltd. fell apart last year because of the lack of approval from regulatory authorities, leaving it with a 100 percent stake in Cuban operations and without a partner that would carry 40 percent of the drilling costs.

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