Recapitalized Baraka Petroleum back in business

Baraka Petroleum has undergone a complete rebirth from an entrepreneurial wildcatter in Mauritania, Mali, and Colombia to an Australian explorer seeking success in the little-known Georgina basin.

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, May 29 -- Baraka Petroleum Ltd., Perth, has undergone a complete rebirth from an entrepreneurial international wildcatter in Mauritania, Mali, and Colombia to an Australian explorer seeking success in the little-known Georgina basin at home in the Northern Territory.

Charismatic founder, chairman, and one-time managing director Max de Vietri stepped down from the board and the company after a recent annual general meeting. His place as nonexecutive chairman was taken by Barry MacKinnon, who is also chairman of Cervantes Corp., the "white knight" company with whom Baraka signed an agreement earlier this year to help recapitalize his firm and move it towards requotation on the Australian Securities Exchange after going into voluntary administration in May 2008.

The "new" Baraka released a prospectus offering 1 billion ordinary shares at $0.002 (Aus.) each to raise $2 million (Aus.). Shareholders with at least 10,000 fully paid ordinary shares in Baraka and Cervantes will be given priority under the offer that opens June 2. It is scheduled to close on July 3 with a planned requotation on the Australian Stock Exchange on July 10.

The company relinquished for financial reasons its interests in west Mauritanian Taoudeni basin permits Ta-11 and Ta-12 on the Mali border. This was the last of its original overseas ventures.

Previously the company withdrew from the Mali joint venture it forged with Italy's Eni SPA and Sonatrach in the northern Taoudeni in the Sahara Desert in Mali near the border with Algeria. It also entered an agreement with La Punt joint venture to release its obligations in Colombia and signed an assignment agreement with the Chicuaco joint venture, also in Colombia.

The company began its new life by farming into two permits in the Georgina basin of the Northern Territory southeast of Tennant Creek held by private company Northern Territory Oil. Under the agreement Baraka will pay a signature bonus of $5,000 (Aus.) and become operator of the two blocks, EP127 and EP128. It could earn a 75% interest in each by funding exploration costs up to the completion of one well.

The funds raised for the new prospectus will be used to finance the initial exploration program, which will include geochemical and gravity surveys of targeted areas within the permits in the first year and acquisition of seismic data to delineate drillable prospects in the second year. Plans call for a well in each permit during the third year.

The permits cover 7.4 million acres in the under-explored basin. Oil shows have been found previously in several wells and gas has flowed to surface in a well called Ethabuka-1, drilled some years ago.

Lead manager for Baraka's new capital raising is Zurich Securities.

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