It was another interesting week. Getting the bad news out of the way first, Hurricane Energy (HUR) announced a disappointing well result and the share price fell around 25%. I mentioned HUR two weeks ago as a gamble for those who prefer to ignore what I say about only going for the “certainties,” the small number of shares each year which, absent a “black swan” event, look virtually certain to perform. Hurricane also illustrates the law of diminishing returns as a company develops and requires more capital. It’s now trading below the 34p placing price three years ago.
A further North Sea focussed company, I3 Energy (I3E) confused many people with its two RNS announcements on Friday. The first RNS announced that “it is expecting to complete the subscriptions for 14,285,715 new ordinary shares in the Company at 35 pence per share…and expects the admission of the new shares to be on or around 9th December” Unfortunately, certain social media posters either ignorantly or deliberately ignored the first part of the announcement stating that it was “further to its announcement of 8th November,” before the latest Liberator well disappointment. This subscription in fact was nothing new. The second RNS announced the receipt of the funds exactly as expected and in line with the legally binding agreements announced on 8 November, thus again nothing new. This, however, was spun by certain parties into a post Liberator fundraising at several times the market price.
Even more seriously misrepresented was I3E’s statement that “BP Oil International Limited, funds managed by Lombard Odier Investment Managers group, and James Caird Asset Management…all took up their contractual rights to be granted warrants to subscribe for new ordinary shares in the Company…at an exercise price of 40 pence per share.” The spinners falsely interpreted this as BP at al. actually exercising their warrants and paying 40p per share. The truth is that these were simply free extra warrants granted to these parties, pursuant to the terms of earlier agreements. They didn’t pay anything.
Overall, I3E ended up 52% on the day and, absent any meaningful news next week, it’s going to come back down. Problem here is people relying on a tweet rather than reading the RNS themselves, or reading the RNS and not understanding it. As I’ve said before, be careful whose tweets you believe.
Another one operating in the North Sea is Cluff Natural Resources (CLNR). I highlighted this at 1.325p last weekend and some strong buying came in Monday. It turns out partly to have been well known oil company investors, David and Monique Newlands, who’ve bought 3.1%. Still well below the last 1.75p placing price, it’s one to think about.
UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) announced an 0.85p placing and the share price has fallen back into the 0.90s. They need extra cash since their co-venturers at Horse Hill (principally Alba Mineral Resources (ALBA)) are considered unlikely to contribute their 14.365% share of current cash calls. Short-term, the UKOG share price is going to come down to the results of the extended well test and the quantity of shares sold by the convertible loan note holders, plus of course the new placees.
Angus Energy (ANGS) now is talking about paying dividends to shareholders. Sadly, there’s a long way to go to achieve that; all they actually announced last week is OGA approval for the transfer of the Saltfleetby licence and the appointment of an operator. Big question is, when/if they do get to the point of production and sale, will the company at the plc level actually operate profitably? And then there’s the tedious formality of clearing off the £6,226,000 accumulated loss first before they can legally pay any dividends. Remember, someone paid Angus £2.5 million to take Saltfleetby off their hands and they knew what they were doing.
Echo Energy (ECHO) updated regarding its South American assets. Santa Cruz Sur is producing 587 barrels of oil and 11.96 million cubic feet of gas per day net to Echo’s interest. Further upside could come from the Campo La Mata x-1 well currently being drilled and the upcoming Campo Limite exploration well. Like Angus, the issue is can they ever actually operate profitably at the plc level and return money to shareholders.
Stablemate Coro Energy (CORO) announced the disposal of its Italian assets to Zenith Energy (ZEN) for £400,000 payable in new ZEN shares issued at more than double the market price. Theoretically, there’s a further payment if a certain production target is met, but that’s far from certain. I think it’s a good deal for Coro, who probably correctly viewed the “assets” as liabilities and it gives Zenith something to talk about for no cash. It’s quite interesting to read and compare the perspectives in the two RNS announcements.
Providence Resources (PVR) announced a leadership change. Tony O’Reilly has stepped down as CEO with immediate effect. His position had become untenable after the Barryroe fiasco when the funds failed to arrive and the board now is looking to identify and recruit a replacement. It’s difficult to see where this goes now in the current environment, but it’s an interesting one and always worth keeping an eye on.
Reabold Resources (RBD) announced an increase in its shareholding in Danube Petroleum to 51%. The problem is that none of these investments have yet been shown to achieve any return and the share price is back down to where it was two years ago, well below the price of recent fund raising exercises. I’ve been critical of this one for some time and others are now starting to see the problems too. If RBD want to retain credibility they’re going to have to disclose production numbers and I’m not sure they’re going to be sufficient to satisfy the market.
On a more positive note, Red Emperor Resources (RMP) is back in business. It’s signed an option agreement to acquire a large scale Perth Basin oil play in Western Australia. Unfortunately, it’s not particularly exciting since they’re only talking about acquiring 3D seismic in order for drillable prospects to be matured. They do, however, say that they are continuing to identify and evaluate additional projects that can potentially provide relatively near term, high impact drilling opportunities. With this one, that’s what to look out for.
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For those who are not familiar with me, I focus exclusively on small cap oil and gas companies and know this sector inside out. I have been involved in the stock markets (both UK and US) since the early 1980s and understand exactly how the finance and promotion game works. I also have many years’ operational and corporate experience in the oil business, which enables me to see very quickly whether or not these companies are telling the truth. I share my take on companies and the markets and, as those who follow me know, I’m rarely wrong about these matters.
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The author holds one or more investments in one or more of the companies mentioned so this post cannot be viewed as independent research. This post does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell and may be incorrect or outdated.