To date, that has included token contributions to an orphanage in Nigeria, a conference by Let's GoAfrica (an Africa-focused charity in Washington, D.C.) and support for an anti-drug radio campaign targeting inner-city youths in Houston. We also are working toward identifying appropriate charity initiatives in Sao Tome & Principe to which we will lend our support.
In the past, the company paid a heavy price for offering scholarships to students in Sao Tome, which were ultimately given to the children of a Sao Tome oil official and became part of the bill of fare on an everything-on-the-menu smear of the company performed for Big Oil interests by the Sao Tome Attorney General.
The letter (a new format for these updates) touches on a number of other points that ought to keep investor enthusiasm afloat in the choppy waters of the Gulf of Guinea oil scramble.
Among those are a renewed commitment to avoiding and/or mitigating delay in drilling in Blocks 2 and 4 by the Adan Abraham, which Luca said is expected to leave the drydocks in Singapore after refurbishment there "within the coming months." The announcement hasn't really budged the share price, though, and may not have reached many investors as trades and volume indicate few are participating in the stock's day-to-day fortunes for now.
Here's the letter:
ERHC Energy Inc. Interim CEO Updates Shareholders
Jan 31, 2008 16:25:54 (ET)
HOUSTON, TX, Jan 31, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- The following update on Company activities was issued by Nicolae Luca, interim chief executive officer of ERHC Energy Inc. (ERHE, Trade ), after the market close on Thursday, January 31, 2008.
"To ERHC Shareholders:
"I am pleased once again to provide an update on the recent progress of ERHC Energy Inc.
"I hope you had an opportunity to participate in our January 15th investor conference call. Corporate Secretary Peter Ntephe updated everyone on ERHC's financial position and ongoing operations. The Company's Vice President, Technical, Jim Ledbetter weighed in on progress toward drilling in the Joint Development Zone (JDZ). A replay of the entire call is available at https://www302.livemeeting.com/lrs/8000074869/PublicEvents.aspx.
"There is more progress to report toward drilling in the JDZ. The Joint Development Authority (JDA), which was set up by the governments of Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe to administer the JDZ, has approved the budgets for JDZ Blocks 2, 3 and 4 in which ERHC has interests. The JDA also has approved well locations in two of those Blocks.
"These approvals open the door for the relevant consortia to order the custom drilling materials necessary to drill in the JDZ's deepwater. The custom order will take up to nine months to deliver.
"Meanwhile, the Aban Abraham deepwater drill-ship, which has already been jointly contracted by the operators in JDZ Blocks 2 and 4, Sinopec and Addax Petroleum, remains under refurbishment in Singapore. It is expected out of dry dock and into sea trials within the coming months, before it can be transported to West Africa.
"We continue to support Addax's efforts to secure a drilling rig of opportunity to avert delay or at least mitigate its impact. Addax has disclosed that it still plans to commence drilling of the Kina prospect in JDZ Block 4 as early as the fourth quarter of 2008.
"ERHC is continuing to assess the feasibility of acquisition prospects to diversify its asset portfolio. We seek opportunities that will produce significant enough revenue in the short-term to justify expenditures.
"Work is also underway on ERHC's first quarter financial report for the period that ended December 31, 2007.
"ERHC's executives are making final preparations for participation in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference 2008 in Abuja, Nigeria. ERHC is the registration sponsor for the event, which will give us a highly visible presence among the more than 4,000 corporate executives, vendors and service partners in the region's oil industry, as well as the more than 600 senior delegates who will participate. Our sponsorship of Nigeria Oil & Gas 2008 is part of the Company's efforts to raise awareness about our ongoing operations and the progress being made toward eventual drilling in the JDZ. The conference takes place from February 18-21 at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
"ERHC also is continuing to implement a careful, cost-efficient community relations strategy. It is our intent to be a good corporate citizen by contributing our energies and resources to helping each local community to be a better place to live. To date, that has included token contributions to an orphanage in Nigeria, a conference by Let's GoAfrica (an Africa-focused charity in Washington, D.C.) and support for an anti-drug radio campaign targeting inner-city youths in Houston. We also are working toward identifying appropriate charity initiatives in Sao Tome & Principe to which we will lend our support. Each of these localized grass roots initiatives makes a small, yet profound impact. When you put them together, they represent a true commitment to community outreach.
"Finally, we hope you can join us for ERHC's next annual shareholders' meeting on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 in Houston, Texas. Shareholders of record as of March 14, 2008 will be eligible to receive notice of and vote at the meeting.
"ERHC Energy remains focused on building positive momentum and values your ongoing trust and support."
Acting Chief Executive Officer