What it owns

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) is being expanded and repackaged through a merger with fellow Aussie listed, Alaska focussed explorer XCD Energy Ltd.

A paper transaction sees the creation of an explorer with a diversified portfolio on Alaska’s North Slope, with three distinct key areas: Project Icewine, Project Peregrine, and the Yukon licences.

It will have improved scale, market presence and funding capability, and share liquidity, according to AIM and ASX listed 88 Energy.

The new company will leverage 88 Energy’s geological and operational expertise, specific to the North Slope of Alaska – where it has drilled four wells and acquired several 2D and 3D seismic data.

Significantly, the adds fresh drilling opportunities which promise catalysts whilst 88 Energy continues to work on the progression of the existing discoveries, conventional and unconventional, which require further appraisal and de-risking works.

The new opportunities are in XCD’s Peregrine area. In May, this acreage was further bolstered by an updated evaluation by consultant ERC Equipoise (ERCE) which outlined 1.63bn barrels of mean prospective resources across three targets – Merlin, Harrier, and Harrier Deep.

In the recommended takeover of XCD, pitched at around A$7.5mln, 88 Energy will issue 2.4 new 88 Energy shares and 0.7 for every listed XCD share option held – an improved offer from 1.67 per share and 0.5 per option.

The existing portfolio:

Project Icewine, Alaska

The operator on the majority of 528,000 contiguous acres onshore Alaska in proven oil province, of which 349,000 acres are net to 88 Energy through a 66% working interest, a 10-year leasehold and16.5% royalty

The opportunity comprises unconventional acreage and conventional opportunity on the North Slope

Yukon Gold, Alaska

The recent award of 14,194 acres (100% 88 Energy); Contains historic oil discovery assessing 3D seismic

Western Blocks, Alaska

88 Energy Limited (LON:88E) earning 36% by paying 40% of costs for a commitment well on a 400MMbbl prospect; adjacent to recent discoveries


How it’s doing

In May, 88 Energy suggested there may be more to unlock at the Charlie project – following the departure of former partner Premier Oil PLC (LON:PMO).

In an operations update, the explorer highlighted what it called “compelling” indications of oil in an up-dip location from the Charlie well location. Moreover, it commented that it had originally planned to drill the Charlie well somewhere else before Premier Oil joined the exploration campaign.

Charlie-1 encountered a large condensate discovery and its primary oil target was found to be poorly developed in that location. Samples were taken from secondary target reservoirs.

88 Energy’s new statement included analysis of samples taken from the Charlie well with hydrocarbons confirmed to be of a gravity of 49 to 52 degree API – described as being around the typical crossover between volatile oil and condensate. The reservoirs would typically require some form of injection, it noted. Further analysis results are now awaited and are anticipated in the future.

The explorer said its originally preferred drilling location is in a “more optimal thermal maturity window for generation of oil”, provides a “more ideal intersection of targets in the Seabee formation where oil was observed” in previous wells, and has “better continuity of reservoir and improved reservoir quality”. It detailed that its preferred location would have allowed a single well to appraise six separate prospective objectives in the Torok and Seabee sandstones.

Premier Oil exited the project after the well failed in its primary target but encountered hydrocarbon pay in Torok and Seabee formations. At that time, the well’s position was described as sub-optimal.