Monday, April 10, 2006

ERHC Rising

"I'm baffled how a news lid could be kept so tight on such a Monster find," wrote a well-known poster called The Dane around 10am ET this morning on Investor's Hub.

He was serious, or at least pretended to be.

But how much of a secret can Chevron's discovery be if it was reported in the Wall Street Journal, celebrated publicly by OPEC President Dr. Edmund Daukoru, and reported in every oil industry publication from UpstreamOnline to RigZone - not to mention a host of news agencies including Agence France-Presse, the Portuguese news agency Lusa and Reuters?

We'd say it's no secret at all. We'd say that waiting for Chevron's official press release is a pretext; having been told by all and sundry since the find was first revealed here on Feb. 14, there are few in the investing world who don't know of developments in Block 1 of the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Zone.

What The Dane really meant to say is, why hasn't ERHC Energy's share price gone up more since the world learned of the discovery?

That is a harder question to answer. According to our sources, the Offor clan controls somewhere between 500 million and 525 million of ERHC's outstanding shares, and prefer to keep it in a lower range where the percentage of gains is consistently higher than can be achieved at a higher share price. Better a stock go up and down 12 percent every few weeks or months, from $0.70 to $0.80, and that you be able to buy plenty at those prices, than that it go from $1.50 to $1.60, or 6 percent, when you can't afford to buy it back in such great quantities.

What's the difference if you make 10 cents a share on 100,000 shares that cost you $0.70, or $70,000, or 10 cents a share on 100,000 shares that cost you $150,000?

Well, you make $10,000 on the first and $10,000 on the second, too - but the second costs you twice as much to play. If I had enough stock to control the game, I'd rather make $10,000 on my $70,000 investment, not my $150,000 one.

So don't expect too much price action, despite the huge gains companies like our reluctant JOA partner in Block 3, Anadarko, is enjoying. APC is up $3.80 today, while we struggle to stay even at $0.905.

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