It was a busy December week for the small-cap oil and gas sector.
Hurricane Energy PLC (LON:HUR) shares slumped a further 30% in Friday morning’s deals as the flailing oil field developer revealed it will soon open talks with bondholders and other stakeholders over a possible restructuring and new funding.
The company’s Lancaster oil field has been running only one well for most of the time since its last project update in October, as its team continues to rework the project amidst worse-than-forecast performance and unexpected problems with high water volumes being pumped from wells.
Lancaster is still producing positive cash-flow, Hurricane said, and the company had US$87mln of cash in the bank at the end of November. The company added, however, that new investment will be needed to optimise product and ensure oil recoveries are maximised.
In the near term, Hurricane is seeking support from its stakeholders as it wants to raise around US$60mln of new capital to invest in a new Lancaster well, slated for drilling in 2021.
Zephyr Energy PLC () announced the start of drilling for the State 16-2 well in Utah’s Paradox basin.
Detailing the programme, Zephyr noted that the well will be drilled as a “mildly deviated” well (at a maximum inclination of 8 degrees) down to a vertical target depth of 9,815 feet. It aims to acquire up to 100 feet of continuous core from the targeted Cane Creek reservoir. Chief executive Colin Harrington described the start of drilling as “a watershed moment” for the company.
() entered a long-term natural gas sales agreement with the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC), covering all future gas production from the Ortoire block.
It will allow the recent discoveries at 80%-owned Ortoire to be delivered into production, starting with the Coho-1 well which was drilled successfully in 2019. Coho-1 when tested, this time last year, flowed at a rate of 46mln cubic feet of gas per day which is the equivalent of 7,671 barrels of oil per day.
“This agreement provides a stable, multi-decade revenue stream for Touchstone to fully develop the world-class asset at Ortoire,” said Paul Baay, Touchstone chief executive in a statement.
() on Thursday highlighted an announcement by the Australian government, which intends to back exploration in the Beetaloo sub-basin with up to A$50mln of funding. AIM-quoted Falcon is among the early movers in the Beetaloo, via its partnership with Origin Energy, with some 4.6mln acres worth of permits covering what is believed to be the most prospective core area of the sub-basin.
The government funding is designed to fast-track projects to drilling, Falcon noted in a statement. Canberra will provide grants that will cover 25% of eligible exploration costs, capped at A$7.5mln per well. The funding programme will be limited to three wells per exploration venture, Falcon noted.
() shares soared in Wednesday’s early deals after the company unveiled what is described as a “game changing” acquisition, picking up Atomic Oil & Gas LLC.
The transaction has a reported deal value of US$54mln – comprising a US$1mln deposit, US$26mln of assumed debt, US$23mln of debt and cash payments, plus US$4mln in shares. It delivers producing assets in the US state of Wyoming, the Barron Flats Shannon Unit (57.7% owned by Atomic) and Cole Creek Unit (66.7% owned by Atomic).
“This is a game-changing acquisition which will materially reposition COPL as a production company with assets that have a long-term lifecycle and rapid production opportunity,” said Arthur Millholland, COPL chief executive in a statement.
() said its 50% owned Algoa-Gamtoos license joint venture, offshore South Africa, will advance the project into the next phase of exploration.
Operator New Age Energy, which also has 50% of the project, has formally agreed a second exploration period under the licence, Tower said in a statement. It will run for a two-year period and includes the obligation to shoot 300 square kilometres of 3D seismic data. The Algoa-Gamtoos license is located adjacent to Total’s Block 11B/12B which is host to the recently announced significant gas and condensate discovery in the Luiperd-1X well.
() extended the deadline for the Oza field deal. The group said the process of completing the transaction has been frustrated by the continuing international restrictions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A deal was struck in September for San Leon to invest an initial US$7.5mln via a loan to Decklar Petroleum, a subsidiary of Asian Mineral Resources (), to fund a fast-track redevelopment of the Oza oil field. In return, San Leon receives a 15% interest in the underlying field. A further option exists for San Leon to similarly invest another US$7.5mln and increase its interest in the field to 30%.
On Monday, () announced the start of commercial production from the Falcon-1 well at the Champion project, in east Texas. Production began on Friday, December 11. The company said that production rates will be reported in due course, once stable oil and gas rates are established.
Chariot Oil & Gas Limited () landed new acreage offshore Morocco, in the vicinity of its Anchois gas project. The company told investors it has successfully negotiated terms for the area referred to as Rissana Offshore, and the formal award of a licence is expected in 2021.
It will own a 75% interest and will be the operator of the project, alongside state-firm ONHYM (Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines) which will retain the other 25% of the project.
() highlighted the findings of a new sub-surface evaluation which has uncovered a new prospect.
The prospect, named Wengen, located in Licence P2170, is position directly west of the Tweedsmuir field and has been estimated to host some 62mln barrels of potential resources (P50), with the probabilistic range set at 31mln barrels at P90 (higher confidence) and 162mln for P10 (lower confidence). Probability of geological success is seen as 22% for the prospect.
Jersey now has four ‘drill-ready’ prospects – namely Verbier Deep, Cortina NE, Wengen and Zermatt.
Together these prospects are estimated to host some 222mln barrels of P50 prospective resources. An exploration drilling campaign is being planned for 2022 with any successes envisaged as tie-backs to the proposed facility in the Greater Buchan Area field development.
() arranged up to US$20mln of additional funding to support its plans in Trinidad and Suriname, along with the upcoming Perseverance-1 well in The Bahamas. Through an agreement with a European alternative asset manager it will immediately receive £7.5mln (US$10mln) through the issue of 375,000 new shares priced at 2p each. An option agreement allows it to access up to US$10mln (£7.5mln) within 10 days after the spud of Perseverance-1.