Ram Power reports results for Q2 and update on activities

Ram Power reports results for Q2 and update on activities San Jacinto plant, Nicaragua (source: Polaris Geothermal)
Alexander Richter 15 Aug 2010

In its report on Q2 results for 2010, Ram Power provides an update on its activities and reports available working capital of C$78m.

Ram Power (listed on the TSX, RPG) releases financial and operating results for Q2 of 2010. With total revenues for the first half of 2010 of C$2.1m (Q2: C$2.1m), the company reports a net loss of C$10.5m for the first half of 2010 (C$6.5m for Q2). With total assets of C$420m the company has long-term debt of C$45.6m, total liabilities of C$84.6m and working capital of C$78m.

In Q2 the company “spent approximately C$51.6 million on additions to geothermal properties and capital assets, including approximately C$23 million on the Phase I and II San Jacinto expansions, C$20 million to acquire the land rights associated with the Geysers project, and approximately C$6.5 million on the Orita Project.”

Hezy Ram, CEO of Ram Power, said, “Ram Power continued in the second quarter of 2010 to execute its plan to be one of the world’s preeminent geothermal power companies. Construction of Phase I and II expansions at our San Jacinto-Tizate project proceeds according to the schedule and budget. We are in the final stages of the negotiation process for the Phase II expansion’s financing, which is expected to close in the third quarter. Drilling activity commenced at the Orita project in parallel to negotiations with EPC contractors. We recently purchased the land rights associated with our Geysers project in Northern California which will allow for flexibility and autonomy in the development of this project, which is a continuation of our commitment to developing our pipeline of projects to their full potential. As well, the Company announced the pending acquisition of Sierra Geothermal Power Corp.”

Nicaragua: The San Jacinto operating plant produced as expected during the quarter with short interruption to correct the decline performance of an injection well. In early 2010, the power plant was not producing to its full capacity due to insufficient injection at the SJ-1 well. During the second quarter ending June 30, 2010, the Company completed a mechanical cleaning of that well which resulted in full recovery of the injection capacity of this well. The clean out operation restored the net MW production of the power plant to its optimal 9.6 MW.

Construction continued during the second quarter on the Phase I 36 MW expansion of the current operating facility to increase the production capacity to 46 MW. The Company expects a commercial operation date in the second quarter 2011. The current active production and injection wells have sufficient capacity to support the planned production increase. The total cost of the Phase I expansion is estimated to be $156 million. The Company is using a combination of cash on hand and a $77 million credit facility to fund the cost of the expansion. In the six months ended June 30, 2010, the Company satisfied the equity investment requirement for the credit facility and drew $47 million of the $77 million available under the facility. As of June 30, 2010 the Company had approximately $90.7 million in accumulated costs related to the Phase I expansion.

The Company commenced its drilling/exploration program for Phase II of the San Jacinto Project in April 2010 with two rigs. The first exploration/production well (SJ 12-1) was completed in July 2010 and encountered fault-controlled permeability at several shallower zones. A maximum temperature of over 500 degrees Fahrenheit was measured in the well. The well is being allowed to heat prior to temperature surveys and flow testing which will be conducted in August 2010. A second production well (SJ 9-3) commenced drilling by a smaller rig in June 2010 and was cased at 2,550 feet. Drilling on SJ 9-3 has resumed recently by a bigger rig and is currently being targeted to a depth of approximately 6,000 feet which is expected to be completed by the end of August 2010. The Company anticipates completing its Phase II drilling program by March 2011.

The Company is in negotiations with a group of development banks led by International Finance Corporation (“IFC”) and Inter-American Development Bank (“IDB”) to provide the debt financing for the Phase II expansion, which will add 36 MW for a total capacity of 72 MW, after which the 10 MW facility will be decommissioned. Approvals were obtained for over $200 million senior debt financing which exceeds the expected financing need of $140 million. The approvals are subject to execution of a definitive agreement among the parties. Phase II is being constructed in parallel to Phase I and is being financed with cash on hand until the Phase II debt financing closes, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2010. As of June 30, 2010 the Company had approximately $27.1 million in accumulated costs related to the Phase II expansion.

Exploration Activities: In April 2010, the Company commenced its Orita drilling/exploration program starting with Orita Well #2 which was drilled as a direct offset to production encountered in the successful Emanuelli #1 well drilled in 1982. The Emanuelli #1 well produced about 500,000 pounds per hour which indicated commercial viability. Orita Well #2 was intended to test potential production zones down to 10,400 feet. Drilling was suspended at a depth of 9,267 feet due to mechanical problems and the well was lined with perforated casing, cleaned and tested. A maximum temperature of 457 degrees Fahrenheit was measured in the well still cooled by drilling mud. A flow test produced fluids that confirmed the desired low-salinity benign chemistry but only marginal permeability at this depth. In September 2010, the Company expects to resume drilling to the intended 10,400 foot production zone to enhance the fluid mass flow rate.

In July 2010 drilling commenced on Orita Well #3 which is being drilled to the targeted depth of about 9,000-10,000 feet. As of August 2010, the well shows significant hydrothermal alterations and is being drilled to intercept a major fault controlled low-resistivity zone. The drilling of Orita Well #3 is expected to be completed in August 2010. The well was successfully cased at 6,700 feet and is currently at about 9,000 feet. Flow testing will be conducted in the later part of August 2010.

Mr. Ram concluded, “Ram Power remains committed to the execution of our business plan which maximizes shareholder value through the development of clean, reliable geothermal projects.”

Source: Company release via Marketwatch