A number of AIM-quoted explorers were this week awarded new acreage in the North Sea as part of the UK’s latest licensing round.
All told, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) offered 113 licence awards, representing over 259 blocks or part-blocks, to 65 companies in the 32nd Offshore Licensing Round.
The round primarily comprised blocks in mature, producing areas close to existing infrastructure.
Additionally, amidst the pandemic and broader uncertainty, the OGA noted that the awards were made under flexible terms to allow applicants to define a licence duration and phasing that will allow them to execute optimal work programmes.
London-listed small-cap winners included Deltic Energy PLC (LON:DELT), United Oil & Gas PLC (LON:UOG), Jersey Oil and Gas PLC (LON:JOG), and Serica Energy PLC (LON:S
Deltic significantly expanded its footprint in the Southern and Central North Sea, landing six awards, spanning a total of 2,155.5 square kilometres. One of the six awards is in tandem with existing blue-chip exploration partner Royal Dutch Shell.
United O&G picked up two new licence blocks adjacent to its existing acreage. Jersey O&G secured an area that will become part of the Greater Buchan Area (GBA) development project. And Serica’s new acreage is in the vicinity of the Bruce field area.
Up on London’s main market, it was confirmed that Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) shares will be included in the FTSE 250 following the latest reshuffle of the index which takes effect later this month.
Stockbroker Mirabaud reckons there will be ‘mandatory buying’ in the order of US$95mln to US$140mln from index tracker funds, as DGOC is promoted into the index effective September 21.
Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU), on Thursday, crunched 24% lower on Thursday as it was hit with a retrospective tax bill in Morocco.
Sound revealed it had received written notification by the Moroccan General Tax Administration of a re-assessment of taxes for the company’s Sound Energy Morocco East Limited subsidiary. It related to a tax audit by Moroccan authorities earlier this year and is for the period between 2016 and 2018.
The Moroccan authorities assessed some US$14mln of additional corporate and value-added tax liabilities relating to historical licensing changes. Whilst Sound said it intends to engage constructively with the authorities the group also intends to formally refute the assessment.
On Wednesday, Mosman Oil and Gas Ltd (LON:MSMN) confirmed to investors that no significant damage was reported as a result of Hurricane Laura at the Falcon-1 well on the Champion project or at the Stanley project in Texas.
The company noted that minor site work will be completed for Falcon-1 in the next few days. A drill contract has been signed and a rig is ready to move to the location with drilling remaining scheduled to be completed this month, Mosman said.
88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E, ASX:88E) revealed it has entered its next phase with a solid financial position, ending the first half with A$7.27mln of cash on hand. The company acquired Alaska-based peer XCD Energy during the six-month period, adding additional exploration opportunity. The A$7.27mln cash pot included A$434,000 that was held by XCD prior to the acquisition.
Zephyr Energy PLC (LON:ZPHR), formerly Rose Petroleum, was boosted this week as a portion of its acreage in Utah’s Paradox basin has been selected for assessment in a US Department of Energy backed study.
The study, entitled “Improving Production in Utah’s Emerging Northern Paradox Unconventional Oil Play”, will be conducted by the University of Utah’s Energy & Geoscience Institute (EGI) and the Utah Geological Survey (UGS).
As part of the study, the EGI and UGS plan to drill a vertical stratigraphic test well to gather data to improve the understanding of the Paradox Basin play. This well will be drilled within Zephyr-leased acreage, subject to the negotiation of final funding terms and permitting. The well will be funded via DOE grant and is slated before the end of 2020.
Tower Resources PLC (LON:TRP) raised monies to cover working capital while the company finalises funding arrangements for the drilling of the NJOM3 well on the Thali licence. It entered into a six-month loan facility with Shard Merchant Capital for US$500,000. At the same time, it has extended its existing US$750,000 loan facility with Pegasus Petroleum by six months.