Aug. 23 (UPI) -- One of the only foreign energy companies there said the placement of shares raised more than $1.5 million that will help finance preliminary oil work in Cuba.
Australian company Melbana Energy, one of the few Western companies with an established footprint in Cuba, and the only one listed on Australia's stock exchange, initiated a push earlier this month to raise capital for its preliminary efforts.
From the placement of shares alone, the company said it received $1.8 million that it would use to fund drilling preparations in Cuba and cover general corporate costs. All told, the company said it was expecting to raise as much as $6 million.
The company estimated its full drilling campaign, which is scheduled to begin next year, would cost about $30 million at the high end. At the end of March, the company had about $2.7 million in cash on hand. Listing fees totaled about $8,000.
Melbana, which has headquarters in Australia, has a production sharing contract with the Cuban energy company known as CUPET for the so-called Block 9 onshore basin. Local contractors and on-site company representatives started work earlier this week to get the proposed Alameda-1 well location ready for future operations.
Peter Stickland, the company's CEO, said two exploration wells were possible next year in Cuban acreage he described as "world class."
The low-lying land for Block 9 makes for a promising prospect and Melbana estimated its Cuban portfolio contains 637 million barrels of prospective recoverable reserves.