It’s been quite a year for Trillion Energy (CSE:TCF) as they’ve successfully delivered on their ongoing SASB natural gas program in the Black Sea, Turkey while negotiating an earthquake and volatile gas prices. Joining the Market Herald to discuss Trillion’s progress and future is CEO Arthur Halleran.
TMH: Arthur, can you tell us what has been the most challenging aspect of 2023? And as for the new oil block farming deal, how is it expected to benefit the company?
Halleran.: The most challenging thing. There’s a technical challenge and then it’s a personal challenge. And I would say for the SASB, the technical challenge is the fact that we have been drilling pretty well nonstop for almost a year. And it was very technically challenging drilling, but we have executed a program. And also the price fluctuation for natural gas. That also was a big challenge.
And I the personal challenge is, it doesn’t seem, no matter how many times we got a good successful gas well, the share price didn’t really change much, just kind of stayed level. So those are the two challenges.
Then for the oil prospect, in the other interviews before, I always said I was going to pick up an exploration block around August, and it’s about August now. And the reason why for this oil block is it will be two commodities. We have gas and now we have oil. It’s a bigger prize there. It’s way cheaper to drill. We can drill four wells in the oil prospect for one well in the offshore Black Sea. And I’m hoping that this will be a bigger influence to the share value.
TMH: And that would be kind of the potential for investors, right? Or is there more to that?
Halleran: That’s correct. Right now it’s in an emerging area and so we could find either a 5 million, 50 million or a 500 million barrel field. And you can see that just a magnitude would make the shares worth a lot more.
TMH: And then what is the importance of the gas fields to both Trillion and Turkey?
Halleran: I’ve always said that SASB was supposed to be the revenue engine to fund my other programs. And so we have found the gas, we have drilled in, we are producing it, so we’re making revenue. And then for Turkey, (they) import about, I would say 99 percent of their gas, so it’s important for them to be self-sufficient.
TMH: Speaking of the gas fields, what is the company’s efforts being regarding maximizing and stabilizing the production from it and the black SASB project?
Halleran: So we got a couple of surprises. A surprise we got was we’re hitting more pay than that were in the offset wells. And also some of the wells are higher pressure, so they really produce a lot of gas. And what they have been doing is when we bring them on, they back out some of the other production from the other fields. And also at the long horizontal, long direction of drilled wells, when the gas well is backed out from the higher producing wells, the water loads up and then it’s a difficult time to actually kick it back on.
So we are looking at slim hole ESPs and also we’re into another reperfing program and that’s the perf new intervals to give it extra pressure to be able to produce. And I think it’s mainly an alignment, because before the field was producing 500 to 600,000 meters cube per day, and now they think that we could only produce like 300. But we are getting back up to the 400 and plus level.
TMH : And if you don’t mind, Arthur, can you explain the geology to an investor that’s new to Trillion?
Halleran: The geology of SASB is an old classical type deposit. It is a conventional sandstone with lots of porosity, very good permeability. In Western Canada, they don’t exist anymore because they’ve all been found and discovered, but there, and so when you poke a hole into it, the gas just produces like a balloon and there’s no fracking, no acidization, nothing. It’s just, produce the gas. That’s it.
TMH: I understand the company’s on the sixth well of 17 for the program. Can you unpack how the operations work between Trillion and Turkey and the revenue split for that?
Halleran: We have the expertise and actually the shallow water offshore drilling, and we’re now the pretty well the only company that can do these long reach direction and drilled wells. We operate drilling and our partner, TPAO operates the production. And so we get 49% of the revenue, they get 51% of the revenue and we pay a 12.5% royalty to the government.
TMH: How do you see European natural gas prices for the remainder of the year and what price level does Trillion need for the company to be successful?
Halleran: I think I change my mind every five minutes about what the gas price is going to be, but in Turkey, it’s a bit of a sheltered environment there. The gas is either a little higher priced at about 11 to $12, and that’s just related to the Turkish Lira exchange rate. I do not see the gas in this area going below 11 to 12. I think it’s going to start to go up a bit when we get close to the winter. And there’s two things about what is our break even without drilling and regular perfing and so on. I think our breakeven would be probably about slightly under $2 to continuously drill at the current drilling price and everything. I think around 11 to $12, what we got right now is our steady type of price we need so that we can continue to drill.
TMH: We always like to ask a forward looking question towards the end. So beyond executing the current drill program, where do you see the company around a year or two?
Halleran: So the vision of the company is to have a good cash revenue from SASB and maybe some more exploration blocks around it. The oil block, I’m hoping we’ll have a big discovery on that. I would like to be listed on another exchange board, and I’ve always said it, and maybe it’s not going to be in a year or maybe it might be in two years, but my end goal is to be generating a lot of cash and be able to pay a dividend.
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