In March 2014, Messrs Jon Stewart, Ian Lusted and Graham Dowland (Founders) formerly the key executives of Aurora Oil & Gas Limited established Australis Oil & Gas Pty Ltd, now named Australis Europe Pty Ltd (APL).
APL was established to pursue oil and gas opportunities and was funded by the Founders from March 2014 to December 2015 with capital totalling A$2.6 million.
In September 2015, a Portuguese wholly owned indirect subsidiary of APL was awarded the exclusive rights to two Portuguese onshore oil and gas exploration and development areas known as “Concessions” based on applications made in February 2015.
On 12 November 2015, the Founders established Australis to acquire APL and become the parent company seeking to acquire and accumulate quality onshore oil and gas opportunities in the USA.
In November 2015, Australis undertook a private placement of approximately 120.9 million shares at A$0.20 each to raise approximately A$24.2 million. The Directors, management and their affiliates subscribed A$6 million in this private placement. The funds raised were partially used to advance the Portuguese Concessions and acquire the initial 20% working interest leases in approximately 33,000 onshore acres in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS).
In May 2016, Australis undertook a further private placement of approximately 45.7 million shares at A$0.22 (with 1 attaching option being issued for every 2 shares acquired) each to raise approximately A$10.05 million. The Directors, management and their affiliates subscribed for A$2.75 million in this private placement. Australis used part of the funds to acquire a further 30% working interest in the TMS Leases in May 2016 to take its working interest in the TMS Leases to 50%.
In July 2016, Australis raised A$30 million through a prospectus and initial public offering of shares at A$0.25. Funds raised from this issue were used to expand the acreage position in the TMS, continue evaluation of the Portuguese concessions and for general working capital including evaluation of future acquisitions.
In February 2017, Australis announced the acquisition of all the TMS assets owned by of Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc, a subsidiary of Encana Corporation (Encana), for US$80 million. Simultaneously, Australis raised A$100 million via a conditional placement of 434.8 million new shares at A$0.23 per new share. The placement and acquisition were completed in April 2017.
In March 2018, the Company raised approximately A$39 million via the issue of 115,280,000 new ordinary shares at A$34c (a 5.6% discount to the last closing share price period to the placement) to existing and new investors. These funds are being applied to the initial TMS drilling program that commenced in the second half of 2018.
In June 2018, the Company entered into a credit agreement with Macquarie Bank Limited providing a three-year senior secured US$75 million credit facility. This facility, together with available cash funds, gives Australis access to substantial funding of over US$100 million for the initial TMS drilling program.
Australis commenced drilling operations in the TMS in late September 2018 with the Nabors B-14 drilling rig. This initial drilling program will extend throughout most of 2019 and is planned to comprise between 6 and 10 wells.
The Company raised approximately A$30.5 million (before the costs of issue) in the first quarter of 2019, issuing 83.9 million shares at A$0.35 each in February 2019 and 3.1 million shares at A$0.35 each to certain Directors in April 2019, shareholder approval at the AGM. These funds will be applied to the initial TMS drilling plan and towards acquisitions of additional acreage in the TMS Core.
As at the end of the first quarter 2019 a total 4 new wells had been drilled and placed on production, with the initial results of 3 of these wells, on a normalised basis, outperforming the average of the 15 wells drilled in 2014.