Beware of Corporate Interests Masquerading as NGOs – American Friends of Guinea

Hyperdynamics, which started out as a computer software firm, is now exploring offshore Guinea for oil and gas and holds the largest exploration license in West Aftrica, covering 31,000 square miles.  The president and CEO, Ray Leonard, is a member of the Board.  The company is the primary mover behind “American Friends of Guinea.”
PR Newswire

HOUSTON, Jan. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — American Friends of Guinea (AFG), a Houston-based non-governmental organization whose mission is to provide medical and infrastructure aid to the people of the Republic of Guinea in West Africa, announced four new directors who were elected during the Board’s January 25 meeting, including:

  • Ray Leonard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hyperdynamics Corporation (NYSE Amex: HDY)
  • Dr. Judith Hermanson, Director of the Center for Non-Governmental Leadership and Development at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Ill.  
  • Amb. John Simon, a Managing Partner at Total Impact Advisors Co.  
  • Dr. Darius Mans, President and CEO of Africare


These new directors replace Ernest Watts and Michael Watts, who tendered their resignations after serving as members of AFG’s initial board since 2006. Kent Watts, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hyperdynamics and founder of the American Friends of Guinea, remains AFG’s Chairman of the Board.

“We’re grateful that these four accomplished individuals have chosen to dedicate themselves to improving quality of life for the people of Guinea,” said Kent Watts.  “The three development executives possess a combined 80 years of international economic development experience, and they will provide important guidance and insight to help AFG achieve its goals.  We’re pleased that Ray Leonard is continuing Hyperdynamics’ legacy of support as he oversees one of the most important investment projects occurring in Guinea today,” Watts added.

Leonard is President and CEO of Hyperdynamics, an oil and gas company that is exploring for oil off the coast of Guinea and provides logistical support to AFG.  He has spent most of his 30-year oil and gas career working on international exploration projects.  

“Hyperdynamics is fully committed to Guinea’s social and economic transformation, and we are excited about the prospect of working in Guinea during its political renaissance, which culminated in the 2010 democratic election of President Alpha Conde,” Leonard said.

Dr. Hermanson has a long career in international development, humanitarian assistance, and nonprofit management.  She was previously an executive at CHF International, which helps developing countries improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. She also led the Peace Corps’ re-entry into Guinea in the late 1980s, where she worked closely with Guinean governmental officials. “I believe that the Republic of Guinea is poised to reform, and am very pleased to be able to serve at a time of expanded opportunities for its 10 million citizens and civil society,” she said.

Amb. Simon is former ambassador to the African Union, where he responded to unrest in Guinea in 2008.  He formerly was Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), where he spearheaded efforts to finance housing, small and medium businesses and large-scale renewable power generation.  He founded his consulting firm in 2008 to advise entrepreneurs seeking to maximize the social impact of their capital investments. “Guinea is ready to transform itself as Liberia did after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s election in 2005. I am excited to be part of African history by serving on AFG’s board,” Amb. Simon said.

Dr. Mans’ Africare organization partners with African people to build sustainable, healthy and productive lives and communities. He brings the organization’s extensive experience in managing agriculture, food security and health projects in Guinea to AFG’s board as it expands its activities and its staff. He is a former World Bank and Millennium Challenge Corporation executive who commented that he “wants to apply to Guinea the lessons learned from leading the World Bank’s financing of Angola and Mozambique’s reconstruction at the end of their civil wars in the late 1980s and 90s.”

During 2011, AFG will continue its support to Emergency Fistula, Hydrocephalus Children’s, Cholera Camps and Water and Sanitation projects. It will also channel support from Medical Bridges, a Houston non-governmental organization that donates medical supplies to health projects in developing countries, to Guinean hospitals, medical personnel and community associations.

AFG will assess how to work with coastal communities and the Guinean islands of Kassa and Loume, which have been failed to receive tangible development assistance for decades.

Finally, with the guidance of its Board of Directors, AFG will embark on a strategic plan to mobilize more resources to expand its support to Guinean communities and medical personnel.

About AFG

American Friends of Guinea is a non-profit organization created in 2006 to aid in the development of Guinea and to reinforce the friendship between the United States and the West African country.  For additional information, please visit our website at

Contact: Michael Carson, Director  
  American Friends of Guinea  
  (713) 353-9400, ext. 128  

SOURCE American Friends of Guinea


Interview: Guinea Gives Rio Long Lead Time, February 2011, to Surrender Rights and Says Future Gov’t. Will Have Difficulty Cancelling Transition Govt’s. Mining Decisions

INTERVIEW-Guinea sets deadline for Rio’s surrender of rights

Published October 02, 2010

By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY, Oct 2 (Reuters) Rio Tinto has until February to formally give up its rights to part of Guinea’s giant Simandou iron ore concession or it will risk losing its remaining stakes, the West African state’s top mining official said.

The Anglo-Australian miner, which has invested more than$650 million in what it says is the world’s largest undeveloped iron ore deposit, has been in dispute with Guinea over blocks 1and 2, which the government gave to BSG Resources in April.

“We have asked in vain for Rio Tinto to give us written confirmation (that) they have given up half of Simandou inaccordance with the mining code,” Mines Minister Mahmoud Thiamtold Reuters in an interview late on Friday.

“If this isn’t done by February 2011, Rio risks losing the other two blocks under its control and could definitively lose its rights to the zone,” he said.

Officials at Rio could not immediately be reached for comment.

Rio in June said it retained “full rights” to the entire Simandou concession. It signed a $1.35 billion deal with Aluminum Corp of China, known as Chinalco, in July for development of the Simandou deposit.

Guinea stripped Rio of the two blocks during the rule  of former President Lansana Conte, who died in December 2008 andwas replaced in a bloodless coup by a military junta.

BSG, which is controlled by Israeli billionaire diamondtrader Benny Steinmetz, won the two blocks from the junta-led transitional government in April and sealed a deal with Brazilian mining giant Vale to explore them.


Guinea is in the midst of elections, which are meant to return the former French colony to civilian rule, and the country’s two presidential front-runners have both said they will review mining deals signed during the transition.

Analysts have said, however, they do not expect either candidate to take an aggressive approach, given Guinea’s reliance on mining for revenues and infrastructure projects.

“It will be very difficult for a future government to unilaterally cancel the mining deals that we have passed during the transition period,” Thiam said.

He said all of the deals were in accordance with the country’s mining laws, guaranteed swift development of resources and provided key infrastructure.

Guinea has yet to set a date for a run-off election between former Prime Minister Cellou Dallein Diallo and veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde amid political infighting over poll preparations.

Thiam also said a deal signed with U.S. oil firm Hyperdynamics in March giving the company rights to develop 24,000 square kilometers offshore was unlikely to be overturned by the next government regardless of who wins, because it had preserved 70 percent of the exploration zone for Guinea insteadof 66 percent before the accord.

He said international oil firms, including Malaysia’s Petronas, and Ivory Coast’s Petroci had expressed interest in exploring for oil off the coast of Guinea in the reamining area.

He added that UK-listed miner Bellzone’s iron ore mine and railway spur project connecting the Kalia mine site and the deepwater port of Matakan would probably cost $5 billion.Bellzone has said the China Investment Fund will help fund the project.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis, editing by Jane Baird)

Hyperdynamics’ Seismic Survey Vessel Launch Attended by Jean-Marie Dore and 200 Other Guinean Gov’t. Officials, Diplomats and Visitors

Press Release

Aug. 9, 2010, 11:16 a.m. EDT · Recommend · Post:
Hyperdynamics to Launch 3-D Seismic Survey Offshore Guinea
Republic of Guinea’s Prime Minister and Other Local and International Dignitaries on Hand for the Sendoff

HOUSTON and CONAKRY, Republic of Guinea, Aug 09, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Hyperdynamics Corporation /quotes/comstock/14*!hdy/quotes/nls/hdy (HDY 1.05, 0.00, 0.00%) celebrated the launching last week from the Port of Conakry – Guinea’s capital – of the seismic vessel Ramform Challenger, which is scheduled to shoot the 3-D seismic program on the Company’s oil and gas exploration concession area. Hyperdynamics operates the block with a 77 percent participating interest, with the remaining 23 percent held by Aberdeen-based Dana Petroleum plc.

The Republic of Guinea’s Prime Minister, Jean-Marie Dore; Minister of Transportation Gen. Mathurin Bangoura; Vice Minister of Mines and Geology Aboubacar Koly Kourouma; and approximately 200 other members of the Guinean government, diplomatic corps and visitors attended the send-off ceremony as the vessel was preparing to deploy offshore to begin conducting this week a 3,635-square-kilometer 3-D seismic survey for Hyperdynamics.

This is the first 3-D survey to be acquired offshore Guinea. The seismic data will be acquired over two separate portions of the contract area that were identified as being the most prospective based on results from earlier 2D survey work.

“The 3-D survey represents the final step in our technical program to acquire the detailed images of the prospects we need to select the location for our first exploration well to be drilled in late 2011,” said Hyperdynamics’ President and CEO Ray Leonard. “We believe these blocks hold the potential for world-class oil discoveries.”

Speaking during the ceremony, Famourou Kourouma, Hyperdynamics’ Vice President of African Affairs based in Conakry, said, “We are gathered here today to mark a big step in our exploration program to discover petroleum oil in Guinea. We want to reiterate that our company will put a work program in place that will be deserving of your invaluable trust as well as that of the people of Guinea.”

Added Mike Palmer, Hyperdynamics’ Vice President of Operations based in Houston, “Hyperdynamics understands how important this project is to the Republic of Guinea. We intend to remain a good partner for this country and do our best to work with the government of Guinea to improve the lives of the Guinean citizens.”

Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) of Norway is under contract with Hyperdynamics both to acquire and process the seismic data. The Ramform Challenger, equipped with the latest GeoStreamer(R) dual sensor technology, will spend several days at the survey areas approximately 125 kilometers offshore conducting calibration procedures and other preparations before the actual data acquisition begins this week.

The acquisition work is expected to take approximately 13 weeks, and processing should take an additional 25 weeks to complete, with initial results available within 10 weeks. Hyperdynamics’ evaluation of the processed data is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2011.

Onshore support for the 3-D project will be provided by Hyperdynamics’ office located in Conakry.

Hyperdynamics Boat for Conducting Oil Exploration Arrives in Guinea – PM Jean-Marie Dore There to Receive It

Guinea receives research boat from U. S. company
Friday, August 06, 2010 4:46 AM

CONAKRY, Aug. 6, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) — Guinean Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore received a research boat for oil exploration from the U. S.- listed Hyperdynamics Corp (AMEX:HDY) on Thursday.

The Ramform Challenger valued at 25 million U. S. dollars will be used as a vessel for geophysical researches in an area of 3, 500 square km off the Atlantic city of Conakry.

At the hand-over ceremony, an official in charge of the research program said the Ramform Challenger and its accompanying ships will work for three years in exploration along the coasts of Guinea.

This would be the second research phase after the first, which permitted the exploration of 17,000 square km.

With enthusiasm, Dore received the boat which would mark a step forward to the exploration of the long-anticipated oil reserves in Guinea.

“We will be respected, because we will have dollars to be generated from Guinean oil,” Dore told the ceremony.

The Guinean government and Hyperdynamics signed a contract on the researches in September 2006.

In Hyperdynamics Settlement, Former CEO and a Consultant to Donate 2M Shares to Charitable Group, American Friends of Guinea

press release

July 26, 2010, 6:00 a.m. EDT · Recommend · Post:
Hyperdynamics Signs Lockup Agreements with Major Shareholders

HOUSTON, July 26, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Hyperdynamics Corporation /quotes/comstock/14*!hdy/quotes/nls/hdy (HDY 0.99, 0.00, 0.00%) today announced that it has reached lockup agreements with Kent Watts, former Chairman and CEO, and Mike Watts, a former consultant to the Company. The Watts brothers agreed to lock up and donate to a Guinea supportive charity the vast majority of the shares under their control. Having a common goal to realize long-term shareholder value and understanding the market dynamics for the Company’s common stock, the Watts required no compensation for the lockup and expressed a serious commitment to continue to bring confidence to the Company’s market.

“This agreement reflects our long-term commitment to helping the Company realize its world-class potential offshore Guinea,” said Kent Watts. “I believe that the milestones reached over the past year — bringing Dana Petroleum into the project, renegotiating the concession and structuring the 3-D seismic program — suggest a much higher value than is being reflected in the market. It our desire to see this value reflected for the benefit of shareholders as we remain fully committed to the Company and to Guinea.”

Ray Leonard, Chief Executive of Hyperdynamics said, “This lockup agreement is an indication of the support and confidence that our largest shareholders have placed in us to succeed in building a world-class oil and gas company.”

The agreements cover a nine-month lockup period that precludes the trading of more than 17 million shares of common stock. The locked up shares are comprised of approximately 13.4 million free-trading shares along with warrants to purchase approximately 4 million shares. The lockup represents 13 percent of outstanding shares and 34 percent of outstanding warrants of Hyperdynamics stock. The agreements also state that 15 percent of the locked up shares would be released when the stock price reaches $3 a share for five consecutive trading days; 50 percent would be released when the price reaches $5 a share for five days; and 100 percent would be released when the stock price reaches $9 a share for the same period. The lockup agreements replace earlier agreements, which have expired.

The Watts brothers also reaffirmed in this agreement their commitment to donate a total of 2 million shares and 1 million warrants to the American Friends of Guinea, a charitable organization with which the Company is working to provide support to the people of Guinea.

Hyperdyamics Contracts Norwegian Firm for Oil Survey Off Guinea’s Coast

Hyperdynamics Contracts Norwegian Firm for $21M Oil Survey off Guinea’s Coast – cbl

By citybizlist Staff

HOUSTON — Hyperdynamics Corp. (NYSE: HYD) has contracted Norway’s PGS Geophysical AS to conduct a three-dimensional seismic survey to obtain detailed imaging of previously identified oil and gas prospects off the shores of Republic of Guinea in northern Africa, according to an SEC filing.

The Houston-based oil and gas developer said the Norwegian company would survey an area of 3,500 square kilometers in which a previous two-dimensional survey identified multiple prospects. The survey is expected to cost $21 million.

PGS will carry out the survey in two stages, commencing mid-July, using an advanced seismic ship and two chase vessels. The vessels will carry two representatives each of Hyperdynamics and the Guinea government, besides two marine mammal observers.

Hyperdynamics will own the data from the marine survey, expected to be completed by October.

Hyperdynamics Press Release – First Year Accomplishments Achieved: Cementing Relations with Guinea Gov’t. and Getting Approval of President Konate on Project

press release

June 10, 2010, 8:01 a.m. EDT

Geoserve Marketing: Hyperdynamics Conference Call Announces First Year Accomplishments of New Management Team; Company Moving Forward, Positioned for Growth

SUGAR LAND, Texas, Jun 10, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) — Geoserve Marketing LLC, a private consulting firm led by Michael E. Watts (a former adviser/consultant to and current shareholder in Hyperdynamics Corporation), announced today that according to a June 8, 2010 conference call hosted by Hyperdynamics management, Hyperdynamics Corporation /quotes/comstock/14*!hdy/quotes/nls/hdy (HDY 1.12, +0.04, +3.70%) has accomplished several goals ahead of schedule and is positioning itself for drilling in 2011.

Previously, Hyperdynamics Chief Executive Officer Ray Leonard had set four specific targeted goals for the company. These goals have now been completed, according to Leonard’s statements during the conference call. The four goals were cementing relations with the government of the Republic of Guinea and clarifying the contractual situation; adding a world-class technical team and furthering the work necessary to identify drilling prospects; improving the company’s financial situation and addressing stock exchange compliance; and finally, securing farm-out agreements.

During the June 8, 2010 conference call Leonard said, “I am pleased to say, finally at this point, 10 months later, that we have achieved each of these goals.”

Hyperdynamics completed the first goal concerning Guinea relations by signing amendments to the 2006 production sharing contract, relinquishing data to work with the Guinea government and establishing a work plan.

Leonard said, “We’ve completed all the outstanding commercial negotiations and clarifications with the government of Guinea and we have received the final approval of the president and the ministry to move forward.”

Hyperdynamics has also completed all the technical work necessary to identify drilling targets.

Leonard said, “We quickly built the technical staff, the old data was digitized and vectorized and 10,000 km of new data was acquired, processed and interpreted. This interpretation has been completed enough for us to identify the areas to conduct the 3D acquisition this summer.”

The management team has also improved the financial situation of the company by announcing that the Enable Capital convertible debt was paid off and all associated warrants that were an overhang in the market were converted and sold. The American Stock Exchange has rescinded the listing deficiency notice issued prior to Leonard taking position as CEO in July 2009. Leonard also stated that the company was under no financial pressure to get a new partner after securing a farm-out agreement with Dana Petroleum in which Hyperdynamics was paid $19.6 million for a 23 percent interest.

Michael Watts of Geoserve Marketing noted, “With the accomplishment of these goals in the first year of Hyperdynamics’ new management, I believe the company is poised for growth as they are now focused on the acquisition of 3D seismic data this summer and have identified a goal to begin drilling in the fourth quarter of 2011.”

Watts urges shareholders and any interested parties to contact Investor Awareness, a full-service investor relations firm, regarding any questions and updates from Geoserve Marketing. Investor Awareness, Inc. is not affiliated or related to Hyperdynamics Corporation and has been retained for public/investor relations efforts on behalf of Geoserve Marketing.

A full replay of the hour-long Hyperdynamics shareholder call is available at

About Geoserve Marketing LLC:

Geoserve Marketing is a strategic business consulting and private finance firm. We assist enterprises in making the best decisions on strategy, operations, mergers & acquisitions and organization. Visit us online at

About Hyperdynamics:

Hyperdynamics is an emerging independent oil and gas exploration and production company that is exploring for oil and gas offshore the Republic of Guinea in West Africa. To find out more, visit our website at