Friday, December 15, 2006

Upstream's Barry Morgan Floats Buy-In Rumor

Barry Morgan, the veteran industry reporter whose hit-or-miss record on ERHC stories is passable but not high, ran another one up the flagpole Thursday night suggesting that a Dubai company called Millennium - where former ERHC CEO Walter Brandhuber is charged with building Millennium's energy portfolio - is interested in "a stake" in the rights that might be acquired by buying some of Chairman Sir Emeka Offor's 300 million shares.

The story offers no supporting information at all, so you have to take it with a grain of (sea) salt. Admittedly, there's been a lot of talk - almost exclusively confined to one Investor's Hub message board - about buy-ins and buy-outs as investors drove the share price up $0.12 on rumors several weeks ago. Nothing came of those rumors, which were similar in most respect to today's, other than some of the smarter players pocketing bundles of cash on the sale of their multimillion-share hoards.

That's a common ploy with the group of players that dominate the board and drive out unbelievers who may demur. Its moderator is a woman who has been ERHC co-founder Phil Nugent's Houston CPA for decades, and it's hard to imagine any rockets getting launched over there without his matches.

If it is more than a plan to snatch your Christmas money, it has eluded our sources. We continue to urge caution, at least until the SEC and FBI wind up their probes.

Here is Barry Morgan's article:

Players in chase for JDZ stake

By Upstream staff

An unidentified US oil player is said tro be among an assortment of investors trying to enter the Nigeria&Sao Tome Joint Development Zone in the Gulf of Guinea by acquiring the shares of Emeka Offor, the Nigerian chairman of Colorado-registered ERHC Energy, writes Barry Morgan.
ERHC holds substantial equity in the play, including preferential rights to blocks 2, 3 and 4 alongside operators Sinopec, Anadarko and Addax Petroleum.

The financial manoeuvre is being undertaken through the Dubai-based Millennium Finance Corporation, where former ERHC chief executive Walter Brandhuber is now fund manager with a brief to build up the energy portfolio.

Investors and Millennium Finance may be angling to take a stake in ERHC, drawn from stock sold by Emeka Offor, the company's largest single shareholder, who is in talks to offload at least half his 43% equity in ERHC.

Offor is facing legal threats by shareholders preparing individual and class-action lawsuits.

Their complaints range from compensation for unpaid fees to the alleged usurpation of corporate opportunity arising from a deal he struck with Addax Petroleum for deep-water acreage through Nigerian independent Starcrest Energy, another company he controls.

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