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SMALL CAP MOVERS: Independent Oil & Gas surges as it unveils massive upgrade to North Sea gas reserves

A look back at some of the more interesting stories on the junior market...

north sea
The upgrade means Independent could have around US$3bn worth of gas under the North Sea

We’ve said before the world of oil exploration can often be a rollercoaster ride for those investing in it - and this week was no different.

Independent Oil and Gas PLC (LON:IOG) was on, North Sa, oil, gas, Gatwick Gusher, Bore of the top risers on the junior market after it revealed a big upgrade to its gas reserves in the North Sea.

A document called a competent persons report (CPR), compiled by industry experts, estimates proved and probable gas reserves to be 303bn cubic feet for Independent’s Vulcan Satellites, Blythe and Elgood assets. That’s a huge increase on the previous estimate of just 34bn cubic feet of gas.

That's the equivalent of 54mln barrels of oil, worth around US$3bn based even at today’s depressed prices for crude.

The company is expecting another CPR soon, which is expected to see significant resources estimated for its Harvey asset which is also located in the southern North Sea.

Shares surged 58% across the week to 24.6p – but this still only values the business at £44.5mln.

In the same sector, but at the other end of the happiness scale, was UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC (LON:UKOG) (these are the guys behind the ‘Gatwick gusher’ at Horse Hill).

UKOG dived by a third to 4.6p after testing at one of its other exploration assets, Broadford Bridge, hit a snag.

Problems relating to cement bonding of the well meant further work-over programmes will be needed for any meaningful analysis of the well can take place. That’ll cost time and money and investors weren’t in a patient mood this week.

Also heading lower was Myanmar language social media, entertainment and payments group, MySQUAR Limited (LON:MYSQ).

You might be surprised that its shares lost 27.2% of their value this week to 2.8p despite reporting a 450% year-on-year increase in third quarter revenues to around US$4,500 a day.

That seems mightily impressive; but when you consider that at one point in May and June MySQUAR was averaging almost US$7,000 a day, you can see why investors were left a little deflated.

The company’s boss, Eric Schaer, hinted that the fall was due to it not carrying out much third party app development work in the quarter while it worked on other things, although he expects to resume those services later in the year.

In general it’s been a pretty solid week for the junior market, with the AIM All Share gaining 0.7%, or 7.3 points to 1,028.6 points to leave it at its highest point for almost ten years.

The FTSE 100 set an all-time record close on Thursday, but gave some of those gains back on Friday, leaving it just 0.3%, or 26.7 points, in the black at 7,549.

One of the factors propelling AIM higher was power plant operator Rurelec Plc (LON:RUR), which more than doubled to trade at 2p after it emerged that its former chief executive was interested in snapping up his old firm.

Shares in the company had been rising on Tuesday afternoon and into Wednesday but an announcement that afternoon regarding the possible takeover sent shares into overdrive.

Rurelec said discussions with a consortium led by Peter Earl were still at an early stage and that there was no certainty an offer would even be made, - but that didn’t stop excited shareholders piling in.

Wrapping things up this week is Mytrah Energy Ltd (LON:MYT). We’ve included it under the strange but true banner rather than logging its price movement.

On Tuesday the company was forced to admit that its chairman Ravi Kailas had been using the company’s money as if it was his own.

He issued himself with an “unauthorised loan” of US$2.4mln to help buy a property which had nothing to do with Mytrah’s operations.

Mytrah has brought in an independent law firm to carry out a comprehensive review of the transaction, after which the board will update shareholders once again.

In fairness to Kailas, he’s at least agreed to pay the money back by the end of next week.

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