RISC: International growth expectations high Brian Wickins, 2 Sep 2014

The merger of ISIS Petroleum Consultants into independent advisory firm, Resource Investment Strategy Consultants (RISC), has added to RISC’s international footprint, with more than 60% of the merged company's turnover coming from the international sector. Indonesia, Myanmar and India are high on the company's growth strategy.

Independently, both companies were well known internationally. RISC, with an office in the UK, has a footprint in Europe and with the UK being the centre of activity for companies looking all the way down through Europe and Africa, they are well received there, particularly with companies focussed on Nigeria and Mozambique. Two RISC staff from Perth, Nick Eustance and Adam Borushek, are about to head to London, to live and expand the operation there.

With the appointment of Nigel Tibbitt to the role of General Manager in RISC’s relatively new Middle East office in Dubai, RISC is also looking to expand its oil and gas advisory services in that region.

ISIS on the other hand was focused on Asia where they had a large clientele, stretching across the continent from India through to Japan.

So it doesn't come as a surprise to RISC's Head of Geoscience, Dave Cliff, that in 2014 a lot of work is coming in from overseas, although he confirmed in a recent interview with PNRonline.com.au : “The Australian business is still there for us, but the bigger jobs have been coming in from overseas.”

“Australia, for us, hasn't quietened down, it is picking up again now, and we are getting a lot of companies asking us for Competent Persons Reports for release to the ASX as these companies seek to raise new funds.”

The merger has gone very well for both companies and Cliff said internally it has been a very good fit with the exploration geologists and geophysicists added to the RISC team of predominantly engineers and development geoscientists, “It has worked out extremely well and there is a great team culture under the leadership of CEO Peter Dawson.”

“Everywhere we have gone the merger has been well accepted by people in the industry and a number have commented that it's a bonus for RISC to be able to offer a broad range of services from managing seismic acquisition through resource analysis to development and even divestment of assets.”

“ISIS is particularly good on things like basin evaluation, prospect generation and structural analysis, and we have consultants who are renowned experts in sequence stratigraphy.

“ISIS' projects tend to be of longer duration than the typical RISC engagement, which historically revolve around transaction support. ISIS however, may put a geophysicist into an explorer's office for several months or more, doing a long term study. They are very complementary businesses in this respect, each smoothing the cashflow of the other”.

ISIS has conducted a number of regional studies to provide advice on the prospectivity of a country or basin to companies thinking of expanding into new areas. They also offer the service of being a company's exploration team, particularly useful for some of their smaller clients. With some Australian explorers down-sizing their exploration teams, ISIS is anticipating this service to grow in the coming months.

“The team has considerable experience in the upstream sector, from organising seismic surveys, through to developing plays and prospects, and providing advice on risking and valuing the prospects – and ranking which prospects to drill first.”

Two countries high on the growth plan for the company are Myanmar and India, with the latter well known to the ISIS members of the team.

“ISIS has done quite a bit of work in India in the past and has built up a good name and reputation there already.

“There are many jobs coming out of India from companies needing help to develop domestic projects. Also, as the Indian oil and gas companies mature, and become quite wealthy in their own right, they are looking overseas to get into international developments, particularly down the coast of East Africa in Mozambique and Tanzania.

“They are very energy hungry so looking at LNG coming in from East Africa is an obvious thing for them to do. I think there is going to be a lot of opportunities coming out of India from that expansion and from companies who are just operating locally.”

ISIS recently conducted a multi-client study for the whole of the Myanmar, looking at every basin, rating and ranking them, including the exploration history of each of those basins.

The AAPG/MGS's inaugural Myanmar Conference - Tectonic Evolution of Myanmar and its Basin Development with Special References to its Petroleum Occurrences – was timely for RISC to start talking to companies interested in exploring in the country as it opens its boarders to international explorers.

“There was a lot of interest in the study by companies that have now picked up acreage in the recent bid rounds. Over the coming months we anticipate this ground work developing into firm commitments for further work in the exploration areas that these companies have won.”

On a personal note, since joining the company in April 2014, Dave Cliff has found RISC to be an enjoyable place to work, where he says the values of the company are about ethics and reputation. “It’s about doing a good job for people and providing it on budget and on time, with the hope that they keep coming back.

“RISC has a reputation for being fair and independent. It's a good fit for me – there's a good camaraderie here and good management and the projects I get to work on are as fascinating as they are varied.”

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