Of course, the company's sole assets, rights to as much as a billion barrels of undersea oil waiting to be discovered, make it far more substantial than it would appear to be on paper. It is $9 million in debt and has no revenues.
And it has a $300 million market capitalization, fiercely loyal stockholders and an experienced but tiny management team.
The coverage by the wire service, in itself, was especially notable, though. Few could remember the last a company like ERHC was distinguished from the thousands somewhat like it in the nether lands of the American stock market.
RB poster ruby1100 has noted that there were several errors in the story. First, in addition to its JDZ rights, the company has rights to 100 percent of two oil blocks in the Sao Tome Exclusive Economic Zone, for which it does not have to pay a signature bonus, and to 15 percent of two more EEZ blocks on which it does have to pay signature bonuses.
Finally, in addition to the rights it has exercised in the five blocks currently on offer in the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Zone, ERHC also rights to 15 percent of Block 9, which is due to be rebid at some time in the future.
Those rights do require a signature bonus fee, amounting to 15 percent of whatever the winning bidder for Block 9 may offer.
Here is the story by DJNS reporter Angel Gonzales in Houston, as posted:
DJ Sao Tome Venture Approves Name Change To ERHC Energy
Dow Jones News Services
(Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
HOUSTON (Dow Jones) -- To avoid potentially misleading connotations in the West Africa oilpatch, the Environmental Remediation Holding Corp. (ERHC.OB) changed its name to ERHC Energy on Friday by decision of its shareholders.
"We're now an exploration company. There's no activity that's environmental," said ERHC Energy's Chief Executive Ali Memon at a shareholders' meeting in Houston.
As a result of a 1997 deal, the company holds preferential rights to five blocks of the Nigeria and Sao Tome e Principe's Joint Development Zone, which is currently undergoing its second licensing round for oil exploration.
Shareholders expected the conclusion of the bidding round, which would transform ERHC Energy's rights into concrete acreage, to occur before Friday's meeting. But according to Memon, no word has been heard from the Joint Development Authority set up by Nigeria and Sao Tome e Principe.
"We were all fired up," said Roger Voitier, a shareholder who flew in from Lafayette, Louisiana. He found out about the stock two years ago "by word of mouth", when it was worth 17 cents at the Nasdaq (on Friday, the stock closed at 52 cents).
Increasingly improving news about the region's hydrocarbon potential kept Voitier, and other investors, expectant of rich returns.
"What's out there in the Gulf of Guinee seems to be a new Kuwait," said Voitier.
ERHC Energy might even become an operator, if joint bids with Devon Energy Corp. (DVN), Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD) and Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) are awarded in the licensing round. But for now, shareholders of the budding exploration company had to content themselves with the moniker.
Memon didn't discard the possibility of becoming a drilling company or even bidding in other areas. The company might also consider moving from the Nasdaq into other stock exchanges.
"That's something we would have to sort of examine," he said.
-By Angel Gonzalez, Dow Jones Newswires; 713-547-9207; angel.gonzalez@dowjones(dot)com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
The Dow Jones News Service may also have identified at last the famously gun-shy stockhocker70 not as "Terry Edwards," the name of the person whose email address shows on the Network Solutions WHOIS screen for the ERHC Energy site that was registered recently by a domain jumper - who had identified himself as stockhocker70 in posts on the RB message board - but Roger Voitier, of Lafayette, La., who apparently served as an unofficial spokesman for the investors. We apologize to the fictional Mr. Edwards.