Among this week’s highlights, i3 Energy PLC (LON:I3E) on Thursday revealed it had secured a drilling rig from Dolphin Drilling for a minimum 82-day drilling programme that is due to commence no later than 1 September this year.

The contract could yet be amended if both parties agree and could also be extended for a period of 78 days, furthermore, the contract is conditional on i3 confirming availability of funds to satisfy its obligations under the contract, 90 days prior to drilling commencement, i3 said in a statement.

The company also revealed that, in light of recent world events and their effect on oil and capital markets, it has continued to reduce its corporate operating costs. At this stage, i3 said it is not experiencing any direct impact on its business and does not yet foresee any disruption to its 2020 drilling programme from the coronavirus outbreak.

Jersey Oil and Gas PLC (LON:JOG) told investors this week that it is fully funded as it continues to progress the Greater Buchan Area (GBA) field development, which will be concept selection work. In a statement addressing market weaknesses in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the company said that it has no debt and, on current plans, it has sufficient working capital through to the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, Alaska-focused explorer 88 Energy PLC (LON:88E) said drilling of the ‘production hole’ will start imminently in the Charlie-1 well on Alaska’s North Slope.

The company, in a statement, revealed that operations encountered a minor weather-related delay but surface casing has now been set and cemented in the well so that the next phase of the well drilling can now begin. It noted that ‘logging while drilling’ results are expected once the well’s total depth has been reached and initial analysis has taken place – presently that it is anticipated in early April.

SDX Energy PLC (LON:SDX) announced that the LMS-2 well, in Morocco, has encountered a gas reservoir “on prognosis”. The well was drilled down to 1,190 metres and encountered a 10.6 metres of net gas reservoir at the base of the H9/Srafen formation, the company said.

Early analysis of the thermogenic composition indicates that, unlike other discoveries in the area, the LMS-2 gas is from a new and likely deeper source rock.  The company, in a statement, said it plans to test the well but only once coronavirus travel restrictions allow a testing crew to be deployed.

Onshore UK, Europa Oil & Gas Holdings PLC (LON:EOG), Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) and its partners described the Wressle oil field development project, onshore UK, as “economically robust in the current low oil price environment”.

In a statement, the partners respectively conveyed the findings of the operator, Egdon Resources Plc’s (LON:EOG) updated model which estimated a US$17.62 per barrel break-even oil price for the project. It is a boon for the project which struggled through the planning and permitting process, but, will now open up production of around 500 barrels of oil per day (bopd) – doubling net output for 37.5% stakeholder Europa and providing a key growth factor for Union Jack Oil, which owns 27.5%.

Elsewhere, Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) said it is to reduce costs at its Santa Cruz Sur assets in Argentina. In a statement, the AIM-listed firm said that, in light of the current weakness in oil and gas prices, the Santa Cruz Sur assets are no longer cash-flow positive.

Earlier this month, Echo Energy announced that it intended to put in place an additional unsecured standby credit facility, initially of £400,000 and up to £1mln. The company’s existing cash resources, even if supplemented by the proceeds of the additional facility, will not be sufficient to sustain operations at legacy Santa Cruz Sur cost levels beyond the short term.

In the run-up to its exploration well, Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) has agreed a doubling of its existing zero-coupon, second ranking, unsecured convertible loan note facility by £8mln to £16mln.

The loan is provided by an institutional family-office investor based in the Bahamas. The expansion of the facility will see immediate additional cash inflow of £1.8mln. The company can elect to access the remaining balance in four committed instalments through April to July 2020.

And Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) sent a message of “resilience” and “strong performance” against industry and broader headwinds In its financial results statement. The group said its results for the twelve months ended 31 December confirmed production growth of 36,250 barrels of oil per day (bopd), up from 33,700 in 2018.

Revenue rose to US$377.2mln, from US$355.1mln, while earnings excluding exploration (EBITDAX) amounted to US$321.8mln, up from US$304.1mln. Operating profit and underlying profit were reported at US$132.3mln and US$134.9mln respectively, versus a loss of US$254.6mln and a profit of US$138.9mln in 2018.

Genel generated some US$272.9mln of cash from operations, had capex of US$158mln and ended 2019 with US$390mln of cash and US$300mln of debt. Dividends for the year amount to 15 US cents per share.