Pantheon Resources Plc (LON:PANR) saw its shares leap 23% higher to 72p in mid-afternoon trading after the AIM-listed group revealed it can develop a processing facility in the US that should produce gas for less than US$5 a barrel of oil equivalent.
The company - which has working interests between 50% and 58% in several conventional projects spread over Tyler and Polk Counties in east Texas - has signed a definitive agreement with US energy infrastructure firm Kinder Morgan to build and operate a dedicated gas processing facility capable of taking 15mln cubic feet on a daily basis.
Pantheon said all permits, rights of way, pipeline and tap-in points have been completed and paid for, and added that its data implies it can deliver US$1.6mln of free cashflow each month.
Elsewhere, a number of junior oilers got a boost after Europa Oil & Gas (Holdings) PLC (LON:EOG) told investors the Wressle project in Lincolnshire has cleared a major regulatory milestone with the Environment Agency issuing a variation to the project’s mining waste permit.
Europa owns a 30% stake in Wressle - though it has agreed to sell 10% to Upland Resources – with partners Egdon Resources Ltd (LON:EDR), Celtique Energy and Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) owning 25%, 30% and 15% respectively.
Union Jack shares saw the biggest boost, up 15.4% to 0.15p, while Egdon gained 7.6% at 8.88p, although Europa itself was unchanged at 7.5p.
The proceeds will be used to support UK OG’s near-term growth strategy to further develop its leading position in the Kimmeridge Limestone oil play and five conventional discoveries in the Weald basin.
And Pipehawk PLC (LON:PIP) saw its shares drop 9.5% to 4.75p after the engineering services group said its application for phase two funding from the EU's Horizon 2020 programme has been rejected again
PipeHawk's original application for funding to assist with marketing and distribution of its eSafe product, a ground-penetrating radar tool for the avoidance of live cables in excavations, was rejected in December.
12.30pm: Thomas Cook weak as Barclays Capital downgrades on valuation grounds
Tour operator Thomas Cook Group PLC (LON:TCG) was a big FTSE 250 faller at lunchtime, shedding 3.3% at 92.1p as Barclays Capital downgraded its stance on valuation grounds, with the stock having almost reached its unchanged 100p target price.
The bank’s analysts pulled its rating back to ‘equal-weight’ from ‘overweight’ having upgraded the stock at the end of November on the view that TCG's valuation was attractive.
However, now that the stock has re-rated, given the ongoing challenging market, lack of an imminent catalyst and concerns around the UK consumer, they have reverted their rating.
Broker downgrades also weighed on a number of FTSE 100-listed stocks.
Experian PLC (LON:EXPN) shares dropped 2.2% to 1,623p after Jefferies International cut its rating for the credit checking agency to ‘hold’ from ‘buy, lowered its target price and slashed its earnings forecast, citing a slowdown in US credit and uncertainty in Brazil.
Meanwhile catalytic convertor group Johnson Matthey PLC (LON:JMAT) shed 1.6%. at 3,030p as Swiss broker UBS chopped its rating to ‘sell’ from ‘neutral’ as it slashed its earnings forecasts to reflect the impact of electric vehicles on the firm’s business.
UBS estimates that 30% of cars in the EU will be electric by 2025, and it thinks that diesel vans, which account for 14% of Johnson Matthey’s profits, will almost completely disappear from roads within eight years.
And blue chip real estate developers Land Securities PLC (LON:LAND), down 0.6% at 1,086p, and British Land PLC (LON:BLND), off 0.3% at 636.5p, were both blighted by comments from JPMorgan Cazenove, which downgraded its ratings for both to ‘neutral’ from ‘overweight’.
11.15am: GCM Resources jumps on Bangladesh power plant consultancy deal
Shares in coal exploration and development group GCM Resources PLC (LON:GCM) was the biggest market gainer in late morning trading, surging 36% higher to 37.13p on news it has signed a consulting agreement over the proposed development of a 2,000 megawatt power plant in Bangladesh.
GCM revealed, after the market close on Thursday, that it had entered the consultancy agreement with Dyani Corp, which relates to the AIM-listed firm’s joint venture with China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co to develop mine-mouth coal-fired power plants at the Phulbari coal and power project site in Bangladesh.
Natural resources investor Polo Resources PLC (LON:POL), which has a 28% stake in GCM, also benefited, adding 8.6% at 4.75p.
Elsewhere, magazine publisher Future PLC (LON:FUTR) saw its shares jump 14% higher to 205p as it posted a leap in first half profit and said it expects trading in the second half to be ahead of its expectations.
The company - whose magazines include PC Gamer, Techradar, Total Film, Guitarist - reported adjusted profit before tax in the six months to 31 March 2017 of £3.4mln, compared to £0.6mln for the same period a year earlier.
And Seeing Machines Limited (LON:SEE) gained 6% at 4.38p on news it has been selected by the ACT state government in Australia to lead what is being billed as the world’s first automated vehicle trial focused on the driver.
The research project, CAN Drive, will use Seeing Machines' driver monitoring technology to gather data on up to forty drivers in Canberra in ACT (Australian Capital State), who will be monitored while driving level-three automated vehicles for up to two weeks at a time.
9.50am: Johnson Press sees good growth in digital advertising revenue
Newspaper publisher Johnston Press plc (LON:JPR) was a good early gainer, adding 6.8% at 15.75p as the group reported growth in digital advertising revenue and said trading for the current year will be in line with market expectations.
The publisher of the Yorkshire Post and the Scotsman saw its digital advertising revenue, excluding classified, increase by 10% for the 17 weeks to April 30.
The firm said its total revenue for the period, including the i newspaper acquired from the Independent last year, were up 0.2%, although excluding i, total revenue was down 12%.
Plexus Holdings PLC (LON:POS) was also an early riser, up 6.5% at 70p on news it has received a first order for its patented oilfield wellheads from Akers BP, the company formed through the merger of BP and Det Norske’s Norwegian assets.
The order, worth around £700,000, is for surface exploration wellhead equipment for the Hyrokkin and Nordfjellet standard pressure exploration wells, offshore Norway.
But on the downside, shares in Revolution Bars Group PLC (LON:RBG) was the market’s biggest casualty, dropping 31% to 139p after the bar and restaurant chain said adjusted underlying earnings would miss expectations this year.
Revolution blamed the five new Revolucion de Cubas it has opened in the past year or so, saying that although underlying sales are on track, the bars are taking longer to reach full profitability than originally anticipated.
Proactive news headlines:
Iodine producer Iofina plc (LON:IOF) managed to increase revenues and remain profitable last year, despite it being a difficult period for the industry as a whole. For the 12 months to 31 December 2016, the AIM-quoted group generated revenues of US$22.5mln, a year-on-year rise of 11% (2015: US$20.3mln) as it sold a record 474.2mln tonnes of IOflo iodine.
SDX Energy Inc (LON:SDX, CVE:SDX) boss Paul Welch highlighted that the start of 2017 has been a busy period, with “great strides” made across its portfolio. Welch noted that the start of the year brought good momentum, and added that the company looks forward to capitalising on the opportunities ahead.
Stratex International plc (LON:STI) has committed to the next round of exploration in Egypt planned by its joint venture Thani Stratex Resources (TSR). TSR is raising US$1mln of which Stratex will put up US$390,000 to give it a stake in the venture of 30.1%.
Shares in FairFX Group Plc (LON:FFX) nudged higher on Friday morning after the multicurrency payments provider partnered up with easyCurrency – the online forex boutique owned by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Under the terms of the agreement, FairFX will offer currency cards, cash and international payments services to easyGroup customers through easyCurrency.com.
Solo Oil PLC (LON:SOLO) has agreed new terms to acquire an additional 10% stake in Helium One which is developing a strategically significant helium project in Tanzania. The oil and gas investment company added Helium One to its Tanzania portfolio earlier this year, acquiring a 20% interest, and agreeing an option for another 10%.
Condor Gold PLC (LON:CNR) is making significant progress in Nicaragua, it told investors, posting full year results. The focus is on proving its La India acreage in Nicaragua is part of a sizeable mining district. In keeping with a firm at this stage, the loss for the year to end December was around £7.6mln against a loss of around £3mln for 2015.
Europa Oil & Gas (Holdings) Plc (LON:EOG) told investors the Wressle project has cleared a major regulatory milestone with the Environment Agency issuing a variation to the project’s mining waste permit. It supports the new planning application for the project, which was submitted last month.
Gfinity Plc (LON:GFIN) has confirmed the timeline for its high profile new eSports tournament, the Gfinity Elite Series, which takes place this summer. The Elite Series league will be made up of eight professional eSports teams, though through the ‘challenger series’ and ‘Elite series draft’ amateur gamers can qualify to play for the leading teams.
Plexus Holdings PLC (LON:POS) has received a first order for its patented oilfield wellheads from Akers BP, the company formed through the merger of BP and Det Norske’s Norwegian assets. The order, worth around £700,000, is for surface exploration wellhead equipment for the Hyrokkin and Nordfjellet standard pressure exploration wells, offshore Norway.
Seeing Machines Limited (LON:SEE) has been selected by the ACT state government in Australia to lead what is being billed as the world’s first automated vehicle trial focused on the driver. The research project, CAN Drive, will use Seeing Machines' driver monitoring technology to gather data on up to forty drivers in Canberra in ACT (Australian Capital State), who will be monitored while driving level-three automated vehicles.