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Oil & Gas highlights - 88 Energy Ltd, Serica, IGas, Circle Oil, Northcote Energy

88 Energy was one of the week's top risers after it revealed further success of at the Icewine project.
Phase 2 of Icewine will involve drilling a horizontal well.

The rise in shares of 88Energy Ltd (LON:88E) continued as the Alaska-based oil group said it had completed phase one of its Icewine project.

Work has now started on phase 2, the company said, which will involve multi-stage fracking through a horizontal appraisal well, Icewine#2H. The phase 2 exploration will unlock the resource potential, he added.

Dave Wall, managing director, added that the group had overcome three potential hurdles during the first phase: effective bottom seal and frackability; wet gas thermal maturity and matrix permeability.

Serica Energy (LON:SQZ) has cautioned that first quarter production volumes from the Erskine field in the North Sea would be below expectations following a pipeline blockage.

Production for the first quarter of 2016 is now expected to average 2,100 barrels oil equivalent per day net to Serica, compared with prior guidance for between 2,500 and 3,000 boepd.

The junior oil firm told investors that output for March has been impacted.  It comes after what Serica described as a ‘strong production performance’ in January and February.

IGas Energy Plc (LON:IGAS) revealed it has been successful in cutting back production costs to levels more manageable in the current oil price environment. Operating costs for the financial year, ended December 31, reduced to $24.6 per barrel of oil equivalent, down from $34.6 per boe in the prior year.

"In the period, we have continued to move the business forward significantly against a very difficult oil price environment, importantly reducing operating costs by 25% and strengthening our balance sheet through the farm-out to INEOS,” said Stephen Bowler, IGas chief executive.

He added: “In this protracted period of low oil prices, our focus remains on balance sheet strength and preserving cash whilst continuing to deliver value adding activity."

Circle Oil PLC (LON:COP) has hoisted the ‘for sale’ sign above its assets, and possibly the whole business, as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has given it some leeway over its debts.

The IFC has agreed to suspend a tightening of a reserve based lending facility until April 15. Some $57.5mln is currently owed by Circle under the facility, and the IFC has agreed to waive debt repayments until April 15 as well.

In the meantime, Circle has now initiated a formal strategic review of its business. As part of this process it will consider options including possible sales of assets, subsidiaries and even the possible sale or merger of the company.

Northcote Energy Ltd (LON:NCT) has unveiled two transactions that it says will accelerate the development of the Shoats Creek project in Louisiana.

First, Northcote has agreed to sell a 50% working interest (which equates to 36% net revenue interest, or NRI) in the most recently drilled well at the project - Lutcher Moore 20 - to Gulf Coast Western Inc, a privately-owned Dallas based company.

Gulf Coast Western will also have the right to participate with a 25% working interest (18% NRI) in future wells that target the Frio and Cockfield formations at the property. Northcote gets US$500,000 of cash in return, and it will also benefit from a 10% carry on the cost of the next four wells as well as a new royalty.

A second deal will see Northcote acquire an additional interest (20% WI, 14.4% NRI) in the project’s Cockfield play. This deal is with Northcote’s partner and the operator of the project, Shoats Creek Development Inc (SCDI).


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