WTI (Oct) $85.10 -$3.38, Brent (Nov) $90.84 -$3.26, Diff -$5.54 -8c. 

USNG (Oct) $8.32 -79c, UKNG (Oct) 360.32p -52.55p, TTF €197.58 -€35.42. 

Oil price

Oil fell sharply yesterday as mixed US data led to some commentators suggesting that a much bigger rate rise should be made by the Fed next week, in some cases as much as 125bp. Also it seems that one of the arch bulls of the oil price, Morgan Stanley have bottled out and reduced their oil price targets, which must signal the bottom for the time being.

Coro Energy

Coro has announced its unaudited interim results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2022.

Highlights

Operational

Oil & Gas

·        Production from the Company’s Italian gas portfolio, against the backdrop of recent structural increases in European gas prices, during the first half of 2022 was 2,425,342 scm generating revenue of US $2.639m (EUR 2.556m).

·        The operator of the Duyung PSC continues to make steady progress commercially de-risking the Mako gas field and preparing for Final Investment Decision.

Renewables

·        Entry into a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with Phong Phu, a listed Vietnamese high volume manufacturer of textiles. The 3MW solar rooftop pilot project is expected to achieve maiden revenues before the end of 2022 with long term net cash flows of approximately US $0.3m per annum.

·        Coro has two development stage renewables projects in the Philippines, a 100MW solar project and a 100MW wind project. The Company is currently focused on securing land access alongside regulatory permits and approvals, securing offtake arrangements and data gathering at the proposed sites.

Corporate

·        Successful restructuring of the Company’s EUR 22.5m Eurobond, now maturing April 2024.

·        Coro has a strong funding position from a combination of its cash position of approximately US $1.6m (as at 30 June 2022), supported by the free cash flow from its Italian Portfolio and the Vietnam solar pilot, which is expected to be operational later this year.

Post Balance Sheet Events

·        Revised Duyung Plan of Development approved by partners.

·        Duyung has compelling project economics and resources demonstrated by the recent Operator commissioned competent person’s report:

o   51% IRR

o   NPV10 net to Coro of US $87m (US $577m gross) in the Best Case (2C) scenario

o   42 Bcf net entitlement 2C resources to Coro during the PSC life

o   Plateau production of 120 MMscf/d for six years in the Best Case (2C) scenario

o   CPR capital expenditure requirement to first gas estimated at US $251m gross (US $38m net to Coro). Coro expects to secure a Reserve Based Lending facility for a large portion of the capital.

·        Duyung operator has indicated that termed Gas Sales Agreements (“GSA”), for gas sold into Singapore, are under discussion with SKK Migas with a view to finalising sales arrangements in the near future.

·        Entered into an option agreement with an existing operator in Italy to purchase the Company’s Italian Portfolio for up to EUR 7.5m (the “Option Agreement”).

·        Successful completion of installation of the Vietnam rooftop solar pilot project and the commencement of commissioning.

·        Leonardo Salvadori, was appointed Managing Director – Oil & Gas and Michael Carrington, previously Coro’s Chief Operating Officer, was appointed as Managing Director – Renewables.

These interims are just that, historic numbers already overtaken by more announcements but Coro is positioning itself very well with its far east strategy and ‘fortunate’ handling of the Italian gas portfolio which is generating much needed cash. Recent management changes indicate a confirmation of that policy and  restructuring of the debt should aid that process. 

Empyrean Energy

Empyrean has announced its final results for the year ended 31 March 2022. 

As announced on 2 September 2022, the Company was unable to publish the Company’s 2022 Report and Accounts together with the Notice of Annual General Meeting. Given that the Company is required to hold an AGM each year within six months of its financial year end, the Company’s 2022 AGM will be held on 27 September 2022.

Highlights

Block 29/11, Pearl River Mouth Basin, China (EME 100% reverting to 49% upon commercial discovery)

Reporting period

·     Empyrean and its partner China National Offshore Oil Corporation, along with its technical service providers CNOOC Enertech and China Oilfield Services Limited completed significant pre-drilling operational, technical and permitting work throughout the year to enable the safe drilling of the Jade prospect post reporting year end.

Post-Reporting period

·      LH 17-2-1 Jade well spudded and reached final total depth of 2,849 metres Measured Depth (“MD”) during April 2022. No oil pay was encountered in the target reservoir and demobilisation operations were completed.

·      Post-well analysis at Jade confirmed reservoir quality better than pre-drill estimate with regional seal confirmed and depth conversion approach validated. Based on post-drill technical evaluation, and CNOOC-assisted migration pathways assessment, Empyrean decided to enter the second phase of exploration with the aim to drill the larger Topaz prospect.

·      Topaz Drill Program targeted to commence in 2023.

Duyung PSC Project, Indonesia (EME 8.5%)

Reporting period

·      Prevailing strong gas prices have enabled the operator Conrad Petroleum Ltd  to advance Gas Sales Agreement negotiations with multiple interested parties.

·      Conrad has also been working with SKK Migas to enable an upgrade to the Plan of Development (“POD”) that was approved following the discovery of Mako. Following the successful appraisal of Mako, Gaffney Cline and Associates (“GCA”) upgraded its resource assessment for Mako and the new POD is expected to be finalised once Ministerial approval is obtained.

·      Mako is one of the largest gas discoveries in the West Natuna Sea and the largest undeveloped resource in the area.

Sacramento Basin, California USA (EME 25-30%)

·      Evaluation on the project is ongoing and the Company will continue to work with its joint venture partners in reviewing and assessing any further technical and commercial opportunities in Sacramento, particularly in light of strong gas prices.

Corporate

Reporting period

·      Placement and Convertible Note funding of US$10.14 million (£7.62 million) secured in December 2021 to partially fund Jade Prospect drilling.

·      Placement to raise US$6.92 million (£5.02 million) completed in July 2021.

Post-Reporting period

·     Placement to raise US$2.25 million (£1.83 million) completed in May 2022. 

Empyrean CEO Tom Kelly said, 

“Empyrean’s key focus during the year was completing the necessary activities required in preparation for the drilling of the initial exploration well at Jade under the PSC terms.

While the end result was not the one we had hoped for at Jade, the achievement of safely drilling the well on time and on budget was a credit to Empyrean’s team and a great reflection of the excellent teamwork, expertise, professionalism and cooperation between the Company, its partner CNOOC, and its technical service providers CNOOC Enertech and COSL.

Importantly, post the drilling at Jade, Empyrean has been able to combine our excellent quality 3D seismic data with the confirmed well data from Jade resulting in post well analysis that has improved the validity of the Topaz prospect as a robust and large drilling target of approximately 891 million barrels in place (P10). We have therefore made the decision to enter into an agreement for the second phase of exploration on Block 29/11 with the aim to drill Topaz before June 2024.

In Indonesia, Empyrean looks forward to maximising the value from its interest in the Mako Gas Field which would strengthen the Company’s balance sheet and help fund the drilling of Topaz.

In California, while activity and expenditure was limited during the year, the operator Sacgasco continues to evaluate the project and Empyrean will review and assess any further technical and commercial opportunities as they come to hand, particularly in light of strong gas prices for gas sales in the Sacramento Basin.

As always, the Company continually assesses other financing and strategic alternatives to provide it with additional working capital as and when required, including through the sale or partial sale of existing assets, through joint ventures of existing assets or through further equity or debt funding. The Company has also successfully restructured its convertible note.

In addition to its existing projects, Empyrean continues to assess a number of additional oil and gas projects that it believes may enhance a balanced portfolio of opportunity and will update shareholders as required.

While the Board and management share the disappointment of the Jade well result with its shareholders, it moves forward with renewed optimism, with good news due from Indonesia and the learnings from Jade further de-risking Topaz which standalone has the potential to be a Company changer.”

2022 will be remembered unfortunately for the Jade result which was deeply disappointing but the team have drawn enough positives to be planning to drill Topaz next year, I wish them well. 

IGas Energy

The IGas price has taken another battering today, after the sacking yesterday of CEO Steve Bowler the share price is off another 10% today and now a full 40% off the recent high. Firing the CEO just as fraccing is back on the agenda still seems unusual and my post bag agrees, to be removed by a three person board with only one independent director goes against many peoples view of fairness. Let’s hope that it has not been just paving the way for the acting CEO to take over permanently should a candidate be difficult to find, perish the thought…..

And finally…

Last night in the Boropa Cup Sheriff Tiraspol lost 0-2 to the Red Devils and in the Plate the Hammers won 2-3 at Silkeborg IF.

This weekend’s footy has been hit by arrangements for the Queens funeral on Monday, even the infamous M23 derby will wait on another day. Tonight sees Villa hosting the Saints and the Cottagers go to Forest. Tomorrow Wolves host the Noisy Neighbours, the Cherries go to the Magpies and Spurs host the Foxes. On Sunday the Bees entertain the Gooners and the Hammers are at the Toffees.

Rugby Union as a family will be deeply saddened, as I am to hear the loss of Eddie Butler whilst trekking for Prostate Cancer in Peru, a favourite charity of mine. Eddie had the most wonderful voice in the fashion of the wonderful Bill McLaren and they both had a certain magic in describing rugby matches as well as in other spheres. The only misgiving I have is that when behind the microphone in matches involving England and Wales did he so often had to graphically describe yet another try from the boys in the red jerseys…perhaps with rather too much joy and not enough impartiality!

There is a full programme of Premiership rugby at the weekend and also The Pumas host the Springboks, the All Blacks having just beaten the Wallabies in a highly disputed match in midweek.