WTI $38.79 -36c, Brent $40.93 -30c, Diff -$2.14 +6c, NG $2.94 -10c

Oil price

Oil fell slightly yesterday and is around a dollar off this morning as yet again virus numbers rise again. Today sees the Non farm payrolls and after a tumultuous week in the US may see some positive signs.


Yesterday I sat down with Andrew Hockey, CEO of IOG to talk about their Core Project and how progress is being made in the run up to first gas in 3Q 2021. Here is the link.

Core Finance CEO interview: Andrew Hockey, CEO of IOG


A trading update from GMS today with 9 month 2020 performance ‘ahead of plans’ including September numbers with total fleet utilisation now 84% for FY 2020. In these markets this is a continuation of the exceptional performance produced by Executive Chairman Tim Summers and team in somewhat difficult conditions this year.

GMS also report that nine-month 2020 adjusted EBITDA delivery remains above Business Plan targets, an increase of 25% versus the comparative period in 2019. Year-to-date nine-month 2020 adjusted EBITDA margin (against the same period last year) has improved from 43% in 2019 to 59% – an increase of 36%.

This is a peer-beating performance and makes the unwanted minority shareholder activity look all the more peverse, unless of course you subscribe to the view that Seafox and partners are trying to take over GMS on the cheap…

Here is how Tim Summers, Executive Chairman of GMS, described it: “This performance comes despite the market headwinds brought by the commodity price crash and COVID-19, and the considerable distraction and expense incurred by a rival seeking to take control of the Company.  Throughout, GMS has remained focused on delivering on our guidance, and ensuring safe and reliable operations for our clients.”

My own view on the Seafox activity is less charitable.  As I understand it, on Monday, Seafox with its 29% holding, along with 2 supporting shareholders in Mazrui and Horizon, will remove the entire board and replace it with three directors who have never sat on a PLC board before.

I cannot understand how a company listed on the London Stock Exchange has not received the backing from the appropriate authorities. ‘The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Panel”) is an independent body, established in 1968, whose main functions are to issue and administer the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Code”) and to supervise and regulate takeovers and other matters to which the Code applies’.

I would contend that the GMS affair, as it will surely become known, is potentially one of the worst abuses of corporate activity in the history of the LSE. The very fact that right from the beginning this, what appears to be a  concert party, has been able to act unchallenged in this process is a mystery to me and I’m sure others…

Trinity Exploration & Production

Trinity announced on Tuesday that it had acquired a package of seismic and well log data from Heritage Petroleum. The package covers all the company’s onshore licence area.

The acquired data will enable Trinity to develop a modern structural and stratigraphic approach to analysing basin fill and deformation.  Specifically, the 3D seismic data will enable the Company to build the basin model, stratigraphic framework and the sediment fill history in three dimensions, which is the most critical element to this process.  This is expected to result in the identification of new subsurface drilling targets which, when coupled to high angle and horizontal drilling and modern completion methods, could result in a step change in reserves and production.

Bruce Dingwall CBE, Executive Chairman of Trinity, commented: 

This is a significant step for Trinity. As a technically and commercially driven production company, we are highly focused on maximising returns from our assets. As such, we believe that acquiring this data package will significantly enhance our ability to exploit the production potential of our onshore portfolio using the most modern methodologies.

 “The 3D data, in particular, has the potential to revolutionise how we identify, target and extract reserves using high angle and horizontal drilling techniques to maximise economic recovery. When you couple this with our leading position on automation and the use of data science in our operations, alongside the recent proposed SPT changes, the potential to provide a step-change in returns from our onshore licences has been greatly enhanced.

And finally…

Last night in the Boropa Cup there were wins for Spurs, the Gooners and the Foxes. Scottish sides had slightly different results as Rangers got a memorable 3-3 draw at Benfica but Celtic lost 1-4 at home to Sparta Prague.

In the Prem tonight the Seagulls host Burnley and the Saints entertain the Magpies. Tomorrow we have the Red Devils going to the Toffees, the Eagles hosting Leeds, the Blades visiting Stamford Bridge and the Hammers hosting the Cottagers. Sunday sees one of the biggest matches of the season with Liverpool visiting the Noisy Neighbours whilst the Baggies entertain Spurs, the Foxes host Wolves and Villa go to the Gooners.

There is good racing at Aintree and its Badger Beer day at Wincanton.