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Alba Mineral Resources stake in Horse Hill should not be overlooked

Alba has an 11.765% stake in Horse Hill, and, it is now one of only two London-listed beneficiaries of the rapidly advancing asset

oil and gas operations
Horse Hill's Portland reservoir is now deemed commercially viable

A lot of people and companies have already phased in and out of the Horse Hill oil project, which remains at a relatively early stage.

Many faces and names have changed from the initial funding stage, through exploration drilling and subsequent production testing.

READ: Alba looks forward to Horse Hill field development as Portland is declared “commercially viable”

Now, investors in London have just two options if they’re to get exposure to the so-called Gatwick Gusher.

Whilst UK Oil & Gas PLC (LON:UKOG) is the largest stakeholder, with around 46% of the asset, AIM-peer Alba Mineral Resources PLC (LON:ALBA) is the more understated and under-rated alternative.

Alba holds 11.765% of the underlying Horse Hill project and, according to executive chairman George Frangeskides, it is on-course to benefit significantly as the UK oil field moves closer to commercial development.

“We’re in pretty good shape in the Portland at Horse Hill. It has been a very successful campaign,” Frangeskides said in an interview with Proactive Investors.

Meanwhile, in reference to the results from the deeper and potentially larger Kimmeridge play, he added: “early indications have been very promising.”

The current production testing programme is due to complete next month, at some point, and, subject to results, could lead to field development activities and additional drilling.

Indeed, along with a declaration that the Portland reservoir was now deemed commercially viable, it was highlighted this week that the Horse Hill 2 would likely be drilled in 2019.

HH-2 would be a horizontal well, and, importantly, planning and regulatory consents have already been secured. Any subsequent field development work would, however, need fresh approvals both centrally and with the local planning authority.

Frangeskides noted that, following recent consolidation, Alba is now one of just two London-listed companies with a stake in the Horse Hill Developments (HHDL) vehicle, which owns 65% of the underlying project.

The company’s indirect, beneficial interest in Horse Hill is 11.765%.

“It is good for us. It is a little bit less crowded market and story [for investors] as it probably was … so it is good that there are only a few of us now in the project.”

READ: Balcombe and Horse Hill: What’s next for the UK’s new oil play?

The Alba boss acknowledged that in terms of valuation and public profile, his company has been somewhat overlooked compared to fellow Horse Hill stakeholder UKOG, but, highlighted that as production operations nears, he would expect a re-rating of Alba’s share price.

“The major holder in projects tend to get the lion’s share of publicity and interest, but, when we go into production, the reality is, that we will get our share of the production revenues and we will get our share of the oil.

“Therefore, assuming all goes well, there would have to be a rerate because nothing tells the real story like actual production.”

Frangeskides added: “We’ve believed in the project. We’ve seen news that supported the reasons that we invested into it, and, so, we’re very confident in the future of Horse Hill.

“We know the operator has got plans to get it into production, subject to consents and everything else, by next year and obviously we’d be very supportive of that as an objective.”

Quick facts: Alba Mineral Resources PLC

Price: 0.165 GBX

AIM:ALBA
Market: AIM
Market Cap: £6.06 m
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