November 11, 2012
“We’ve only just begun”…… That original Vision to discover the first oil and make a positive difference in Belize is holding steadfast despite the challenges… Many of you don’t know the full story of how this happened……. Please read through to the end to see THE WAY FORWARD and how our Vision is stronger than ever.
Ever since I arrived in Belize 30 years ago I fell in love with the country and its people. The welcome, openness and the trust of the Belize people was wonderful. I was very surprised to find that everyone had written off Belize as an oil producing country because of 50 dry wells had been drilled. Indeed, the world-renowned oil companies including Mobil, Shell and Exxon, claimed there was no oil in Belize. I was told I was crazy to keep on trying to discover it! That negativity motivated me even more…
2. QUALIFICATIONS: (for additional details see www.susanmorrice.com)
It all began after I qualified as a geologist from Trinity College, Dublin, when Sir Ian Rankin was visiting Belize in the early 80’s contacted me to enquire if there was oil in British Honduras (Subsequently re-named ‘Belize’). I began to study the maps and reports and reconstructed the plates. I learned than millions of years ago Cuba was situated on the east coast of Belize before moving up to the position it now rests. There are oilfields on the northern coast of Cuba that were not known to many. As I had originated THE INTERNATIONAL PAVILION at the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) Convention bringing Energy Ministers and their teams to present the potential of their countries to the US explorationists, I had special access to the Cuban geologists to learn about their oil fields. Belize was also part of the Mexican producing basin which included parts of Cuba. To me there had to be commercial oil in Belize.
I worked with Rankin Oil in the early 1980’s, trekking through the jungle, gathering geochemical data and seismic (at a cost of $8 million) in the same area, the Northern onshore Belize Basin where, 20 years later, we had the first discovery!
3. MIKE USHER
Two years later I met Mike Usher, a Belizean. He wanted to make a real difference in his country and I truly felt that our oil discovery would make that difference. We started Belize Natural Resources (precursor to BNE) and I purchased the large seismic data base offshore Belize. The next move was to bring in drilling partners. We drilled in deep water offshore Belize but did not hit commercial oil. That cost $14 million.
4. WALLACE PRATT: Geologist and Oil Pioneer said: “Oil is found in the minds of men”
But how does our mind work? It was not until I attended the Educo Seminar in 2002 that I fully realized that our dream and commitment to the people of Belize was a key component to a successful oil discovery. That understanding of how our minds work was the turning point for me and I was truly fascinated by the research being carried out by Dr Tony Quinn and the positive impact his seminars were having on those attending. I returned home to Denver, Colorado and told people about this educational perspective that was not yet evident in teaching.
5. A SMALL SHOW OF OIL IN A WATER WELL:
Around this time a farmer in western Belize had found “black stuff” while drilling for water. It was a small show of oil. This prompted me to explore again in Belize. This time I was armed with the additional insight and knowledge I had gained from Dr. Quinn’s seminar. I subsequently invited Jean Cornec, a great friend who I had hired as a consultant in Belize, and Sheila McCaffrey, who had introduced me to the Dr Quinn seminar and who I had hired previously in a drilling project in Ireland. She had managed the logistics and had worked with the driller from that project, Paul Marriott.
Jean and Sheila met around my kitchen table and I got out my maps from Belize. I assured them that I had all the necessary data to make a decision on the license location and I could fund the first phase of capitol for the project. Jean and Sheila were really excited to share the vision Mike Usher and I had for Belize.
6. BNE and CHX ARE BORN:
In 2002 we incorporated Belize Natural Energy Ltd and later its parent, International Natural Energy LLC, in Nevis and I signed the Production Sharing Agreement with the Belize Government in 2003. We were ready – but we had not enough money to fund the next phase of exploration. I encouraged my then husband, Alex Cranberg, to get involved and we set up a family company named after our two daughters CHx – Clare Hannah exploration.
All the other oil companies we approached told us we were wasting our time – that there was no oil in Belize. We returned to Ireland and met with the friends we had made while attending Educo Seminars. When we told them our plans they too became excited and although they had never invested in the oil business and did not know where Belize was they believed in us. This understanding and belief from the Educo Seminars was the catalyst for our shared confidence and belief that we could discover the first oil in Belize and make a real difference to the country. However, in 2004 Mike Usher became ill and died at the early age of 52. His death made me even more determined to continue and carry on with his commitment to Belize and to find oil.
7. FIRST OIL DISCOVERY MIKE USHER #1:
By the end of May 2005 we had commissioned a drilling rig through Paul Marriott. I brought my daughters to Spanish Lookout just before we started the drilling. We drove down a bumpy track by the light of a full moon, the brahma cattle were so white in the moonlight. I remember it like it was yesterday and I asked Hannah and Clare to jump out of the car and look around. A few minutes later we all piled back in and Clare, who was 7 years old at the time, said:” There is oil all around here …the moon told me”. I told my partners what Clare had said but they said that this was not the planned location. A few days later I found that the planned location for drilling was not now possible and the decision had been taken to drill an alternative site…We later found out that this was the very location where the moon had talked to Clare and said there was oil!
This became the location of the Mike Usher #1 Well for the first discovery of oil in Belize. We were all so excited. We had struck the first oil in Belize on the exact anniversary, one year later, of the Death of Mike Usher. I then realized his spirit was with us.
8. THE TRUE NATURAL RESOURCE – THE ENERGY WITHIN:
It is this commitment I made to Mike to fulfill our vision that allows me to see the way forward, sometimes against all odds. I have not wavered from that original love of Belize and its people. It is this story of passion and belief that you can make a difference, that was deepened in myself on the Educo Seminar. It is the “oil” the “energy” the spirit within us all.
9. THE WAY FORWARD:
Not wavering from this clear Vision is the key to overcoming all adversity. I see the path very clearly for all who want to remain true to this original Vision held dearly by Mike Usher and myself. With this success comes a responsibility to all the members in INE, all the employees in BNE, our team that works tirelessly to pump the oil, transport it, build pipelines and keep all the financial books, and also those who bring new ideas to the fore such as the propane for cooking and electricity for the BNE operations. They are all doing this so that the Company continues to grow and prosper and is able to give cash dividends as early as 4 years after finding oil. A total of $57.6 million has been distributed or made by members in trading shares over the past 7 years. This is truly a phenomenal rate of return in the global oil industry!
We have come a long way together and faced adversity but we are just beginning on a long journey. We have discovered two oil fields where everyone said there was no oil. In global terms the story of BNE is quite unique. The oil we have found has yielded spectacular returns to you, the shareholders. Our future is best secured by working together, by following the vision that has brought us to where we are today….an oil rich company that is helping to transform Belize and enrich shareholders.
Our journey is only beginning. There is much more oil to find. The Never Delay field shows great promise. As a geologist, as a businesswoman and as someone who really believes in our purpose …there are more oil fields waiting to be found by our company and much more.
We are all really in the “energy business!’
Sincerely and with much love