WTI (July) $68.09 -$1.37, Brent (July) $72.60 -$1.11, Diff -$4.51 +43c.

USNG (July)* $2.26 -6c, UKNG (July) 61.0p +2.74p, TTF (July) €24.265 -€0.93.

*June contract expiry

Oil price

We still have a mish-mash of factors influencing the oil price but at least the debt ceiling Bill passed the House. The view on the US economy continues to be mixed although the jobs numbers were positive, unless of course you want inflation down which the Fed do…So as for rates who knows but the dollar is still strong.

United Oil & Gas

United Oil & Gas has announced an update on the testing of the ASD-3 development well in the Abu Sennan licence, onshore Egypt. United holds a 22% non-operating interest in the Abu Sennan licence, which is operated by Kuwait Energy Egypt.

Summary

–       12.5 metres of net oil pay interpreted across the primary Abu Roash reservoir targets

–       730 bopd gross achieved on test from the Abu Roash E reservoir (“AR-E”)

–       684 bopd gross achieved on test from the Abu Roash C reservoir (“AR-C”)

–       This result has positive implications for the in-place volumes and future potential of the ASD Field

ASD-3 Well Results

The ASD-3 development well, reached total depth of 3,683 metres on 8 May, in line with the schedule and under budget. This well was drilled approx.1.2 kilometres to the north-west of the successful ASD-2 well which was drilled in March 2022.

The well has now been logged and is interpreted to have encountered 3 metres of net pay in the Abu Roash C reservoir (“AR-C”) and 9.5 metres of net pay in the Abu Roash E (“AR-E”), in line with pre-drill expectations.

The well has been completed, and has been tested from both the AR-C and AR-E at a number of different choke sizes, as summarised in the table below.

Reservoir

Choke Size

Duration of test

Average gross oil rate

 

AR-C

24/64″

8 hours

449 bopd

32/64″

6 hours

565 bopd

48/64″

8 hours

684 bopd

 

AR-E

24/64″

4 hours

439 bopd

32/64″

4 hours

556 bopd

48/64″

4 hours

730 bopd

The flow rates achieved during testing are in line with pre-drill expectations. The well has been completed with a single selective completion allowing production to first commence from one reservoir and then, once depletion has occurred, to be recompleted to produce from the other. A decision on which reservoir to initially bring onstream will be made in the coming days, after gauges have been recovered from the well, however United expect the well to come on production with an initial gross rate of between 500 and 600 bopd.

In addition to immediately adding several hundred barrels of oil per day to production, the ASD-3 well has also proven up the connectivity of the AR-E reservoir across the ASD Field which has positive implications for the in-place oil volumes in the AR-E reservoir and ultimate potential recovery from the field. The outcome from the well is consistent with the performance we have seen to date from the ASD-2 well, which came onstream in March 2022, and which has so far produced over 400,000 barrels of oil. This result also supports the JV view that there is long-term production potential in both the AR-C and AR-E reservoirs of the ASD field and there will now be a focus on evaluating future drilling options with the JV partners to ensure that we maximise the recovery from the field.

Drilling plans for the remainder of 2023 will be announced following the completion of the evaluation of the H1 drilling activity and following agreement with the JV partners.

United Chief Executive Officer, Brian Larkin commented:

“ASD-3 is the second successful well in our 2023 drilling programme, delivering additional production and revenue to United as the well is brought into production through existing facilities. Discussions are underway with our JV partners on plans to maximise the economic return from the potentially large in-place volume on ASD that this result has indicated.  Alongside this our workover programme continues on the licence, aiming to deliver optimum production from all of our existing wells. We will update the market on our future Abu Sennan drilling plans once the JV partners have fully evaluated the drilling results from the first two wells drilled this year.”

It is good to see UOG back in the saddle with a decent well result at Abu Sennan and as Brian Larkin pointed out to me this morning, none of the value from the prospect has gone, it is just as when they bought into it some 4 years ago. 

UOG remains a well managed company which I am sure will strengthen up with some specific M&A activity and of course Jamaican excitement is looming larger…

Gran Tierra

Gran Tierra announced an operational update. All dollar amounts are in United States dollars, and production amounts are on an average working interest before royalties basis unless otherwise indicated. Per barrel and bbl of oil per day amounts are based on WI sales before royalties.

Message to Shareholders

Gary Guidry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gran Tierra, commented:

“During 2023 year-to-date, Gran Tierra has completed most of its development program for 2023 with the drilling of 19 development wells, consisting of 12 new production wells and 7 new water injection wells. We remain on track and on budget with our development and exploration drilling programs for 2023. We are also very pleased with the exciting oil production results that we are seeing from our Acordionero, Costayaco and Moqueta infill development well drilling programs.

The success of our 2023 development program has been an important factor in our ongoing ramp up in oil production during 2023 and continues to demonstrate the excellent production capabilities of our major assets. We expect the ongoing positive results from our waterflood projects in the Acordionero, Costayaco, Moqueta and Suroriente fields to continue adding oil production from existing and new wells for the remainder of 2023. We are also beginning to see positive results in our polymer flood project in Acordionero.

By completing the majority of our development program in the first 5 months of 2023, we expect to realize higher oil production for the rest of 2023. With most of our development capital behind us, this should allow us to maximize cash flow. We believe the Company is well positioned to optimize value and grow production from our assets through continued enhanced oil recovery activities as demonstrated by our total current average production(1) of approximately 36,800 BOPD.”

Having said that Gran Tierra was a company and management that I had a great deal of time for but had not seen for a while I was rewarded by a one to one with a senior team on their recent visit to London. Although at a market cap of over £1.5bn it is larger than most I follow I love to operating area, ie Colombia and know the CEO from his previous history and we have shared industry contacts. 

This update indicates just how well the current drilling campaign is going and of the 19 development wells 12 have been producers and 7 water-injection with all results ‘encouraging’. As a result production is up, 36,800 b/d right now leading to strong cash flow. 

The share price performance has been terrible, maybe the tip is to avoid being sucked into a share consolidation which can’t have helped recent performance. But the shares, like a number of others do look very cheap, it is a great portfolio of assets in a great post code and as mentioned high quality management. Worth putting on the radar screen for investors. 

Operations Update:

Production

  • Gran Tierra has begun to ramp up production in the latter half of second quarter 2023, as newly drilled Acordionero, Costayaco and Moqueta oil wells have been steadily brought online. Gran Tierra’s total current average production(1) is approximately 36,800 BOPD.
  • During second quarter-to-date 2023, The Company has achieved total average production(2) of approximately 33,600 BOPD.
  • During 2023 year-to-date, Gran Tierra has achieved total average production(3) of approximately 32,400 BOPD, which is within the Company’s previous forecast range for 2023 of 32,000-34,000 BOPD.

Development

  • During 2023 year-to-date, Gran Tierra has drilled a total 19 development wells in Colombia, consisting of 12 new production wells and 7 new water injection wells:
    • Acordionero:
      • Development drilling resumed in January 2023 with a 10-well program that was completed in April 2023.
      • 6 wells are on production and 4 wells are on water injection.
      • As a result of the development program and continued good performance of the field’s enhanced oil recovery via waterflood, Acordionero has achieved average production(2) of approximately 18,600 BOPD during second quarter-to-date 2023, which is the highest level since May 2019.
      • During second quarter 2023, Gran Tierra achieved a new water injection record of approximately 72,000 bbl of water injected per day.
      • The polymer flood pilot was expanded with the start up of a third polymer injection well during second quarter 2023. Acordionero’s polymer flood pilot is expected to increase the field’s ultimate oil recovery.
    • Costayaco:
      • Gran Tierra has finished drilling all 7 wells in the Company’s 2023 Costayaco development campaign. The program consisted of 4 production wells and 3 water injection wells.
      • 2 production wells are currently on long-term production test and 2 water injection wells started up during second quarter 2023.
      • A summary of the recent production tests for the 2 new Costayaco production wells is provided below:
Average Production Test Rates over Period
Well NameDate Range of
Production Test
Oil (bbl/day)Watercut (%)Gas-Oil Ratio
(scf*/bbl)
Producing Zones
CYC-51May 22-26/202397617150Villeta & Caballos
CYC-52May 19-28/20233,34045312Villeta & Caballos

*scf = standard cubic feet

The remaining 2 new production wells and 1 new water injection well are expected to be completed and tied-in during June 2023.
The completion and stimulation of the remaining production wells and waterflood optimization through additional water injection are expected to continue to grow Costayaco’s oil production throughout the year.
°Moqueta:
2 production wells that were drilled during first quarter 2023 have both been stimulated and placed on production.
A summary of the recent production tests for the 3 newest Moqueta production wells is provided below:
Average Production Test Rates over Period
Well NameDate Range of
Production Test
Oil (bbl/day)Watercut (%)Gas-Oil Ratio
(scf*/bbl)
Producing Zones
MQT-24May 18-27/20231,02117554Villeta & Caballos
MQT-25May 20-26/202365039418Villeta & Caballos
MQT-26May 18-25/20234745239Caballos

*scf = standard cubic feet

1 production well is currently being drilled, with one additional production well expected to be drilled during late June – early July 2023.
The 2 additional production wells, along with 2 planned conversions of existing wells into water injection wells, are expected to grow Moqueta’s oil production and optimize its waterflood.

1 Total current average production is for the 15-day period of May 14, 2023 to May 28, 2023.
2 Total average production during second quarter-to-date 2023 is for the period of April 1, 2023 to May 28, 2023.
3 Total average production during 2023 year-to-date is for the period of January 1, 2023 to May 28, 2023.

Trinity Exploration & Production

Trinity announces its final results for the year ended 31 December 2022.

During 2022 Trinity put in place the foundations for an ambitious growth programme, developing a series of catalysts to drive shareholder value that we are now starting to execute in 2023.  These include:

·    drilling the Jacobin well targeting the deeper Miocene-age turbidite play in our onshore blocks;

·    the application for the highly prospective Buenos Ayres block in the 2022 Onshore Bid Round, the outcome of which is expected shortly; and

·    revised planning to further exploit the Galeota offshore block, focused on greater capital efficiency and shorter development and payback times.

Underlining the resilience of the base business, the Company is committing to a new Capital Allocation Policy which will include a modest but sustainable dividend commencing in Q3 2023 with an intent for that to form part of a broader distribution of operating cash flow to shareholders, depending on realised oil prices.

Highlights

·    Group net sales for 2022 were 2,975 bopd (2021: 3,006 bopd)

·    Revenues of USD 92.2 million (2021: USD 66.3 million)

·    Profit before tax of USD 2.5 million (2021: USD 3.0 million)

·    Average price per barrel received was USD 84.9/bbl (2021: USD 60.4/bbl)

·    Adjusted EBITDA (before hedge costs) of USD 35.1 million (2021: USD 21.1 million)

·    Adjusted EBITDA of USD 24.7 million (2021: USD 19.8 million)

·    Operating Profit* of USD 19.0 million (2021: USD 9.3 million)

·    Cash generated from continuing operations USD 12.0 million (2021: USD 12.6 million)

·    Cash flow used in investing activities USD 15.6 million (2021: USD 13.9 million)

·    Year-end cash USD 12.1 million (2020: USD 18.3 million)

* Before SPT, Impairments and Exceptional Items

New Capital Allocation Policy

·    The Company aims to distribute 15% of operating cash flow to shareholders, for each calendar year when the realised oil price is greater than $50/bbl, and at least 20% of operating cash flow for periods when the realised price is above $80/bbl

·    Payment of a modest but sustainable dividend and the scope for additional distributions in the form of share buybacks or special dividends

·    Expected to include a total dividend (split 1/3 interim, 2/3 final) of 1.5p per share, provided the realised price is at least $50/bbl

·    It is expected that the maiden interim dividend will be declared following publication of the 2023 interim results, in Q3 2023, followed by a final dividend declared following publication of the 2023 preliminary results in Q2 2024

Positioned for Next Growth Phase and progressing catalysts

·    Dynamic strategy for growth is underpinned by a strong balance sheet and resilient and dependable cash flow

·    Clearly defined, risk-mitigated strategy to drive returns for shareholders – focus on maximising value from existing assets and through acquisitions and partnerships

·    Strengthened Management Team

·    Additions of Julian Kennedy, Mark Kingsley and Alistair Green further strengthening financial/commercial, operational and wider industry skill sets

·    Creation of Technical Committee

·    Focused on risk-mitigation and assurance of opportunities which can increase scale and optimise returns

Post Period Highlights

·    Continued momentum into Q1 2023

·    Q1 production levels resilient with sales volumes averaging 2,899 bopd (Q4 2022: 2,961 bopd).  Average production in 2023 will be influenced by the timing and outcome of the drilling campaign and continued workover and recompletion programme.

·    Average realisation of USD 67.9/bbl for Q1 2023 (Q4 2022: USD 75.4/bbl, Q1 2022: USD 83.1/bbl)

·    Cash balance of USD 11.4 million (unaudited) as at 31 March 2023 versus USD 12.1 million as at 31 December 2022 and USD 17.5 million as at 31 March 2022.

·    The Group had drawn borrowings (overdraft) of USD 2.3 million as at 31 March 2023 (USD 2.7 million as at 31 December 2022 and USD 2.7 million as at 31 March 2022).

·    On 9 January 2023, the Company submitted a bid for the Buenos Ayres block in the 2022 Onshore and Nearshore Competitive Bid Round.  The results of the Bid Round are expected shortly.

·    On 3 May 2023, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (“MEEI”) provided confirmation of the renewal of the PGB Licence for an additional 25 years from the Effective Date of 18 December 2012.  Consequently, the PGB Licence expires on 17 December 2037.  There were no additional liabilities and commitments arising from the renewed Licence.

·    The Company commenced drilling the Jacobin prospect on 15 May 2023, the first of the nine ‘Hummingbird’ deeper prospects our 3D seismic has identified across our Palo Seco acreage.

Jeremy Bridglalsingh, Chief Executive Officer of Trinity, commented:

“During 2022 Trinity initiated an ambitious growth programme, seeking to develop a series of catalysts to drive shareholder value that we are now starting to execute in 2023.  We have actioned three key growth initiatives which we believe have the potential to deliver meaningful value for shareholders.

Our core business has continued to perform consistently, forming the basis upon which the capital allocation policy has been designed.  The spudding of Jacobin is an important milestone for the Company and will help determine our further activities throughout 2023 as we look to harness the potential of the extensive Palo Seco play which extends into the Buenos Ayres block to the west, which Trinity applied for in the 2022 Onshore Bid Round.  On Galeota we initiated a revised development plan, including the existing Trintes producing field as well as appraisal and exploration opportunities, which we are aiming to finalise by Q4 this year.

2022 was a significant year for Trinity and 2023 has begun to bear the fruits of this work. I believe we have the right focus to deliver further progress and I look forward to updating our key stakeholders as we move through the year.”

Trinity is in an interesting situation, production actually fell last year despite working on the estate and Jacobin is the only realistic sight of an increase of any meaningful increase in the absence of funding for Galeota. According to my report yesterday from a Reuters article Trinity have indeed been awarded the Buenos Ayres block which is a tick in the box.

What I find difficult is that there is going to be a strange combination of raising money for Galeota shortly after paying out the initial capital allocation policy by way of a dividend. I look forward to hearing the company presentation in a couple of weeks time but whilst paying out a dividend is a popular amongst E&P companies at the moment it rarely happens at the same time as going to the market for equity…

Challenger Energy Group/Predator Oil & Gas

Challenger Energy and Predator have provided the following update in relation to the sale of the Cory Moruga licence, onshore Trinidad.

On 8 March 2023, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement with Predator Oil and Gas Limited pertaining to the sale of the Cory Moruga asset in Trinidad. In that announcement, it was noted that completion of the transaction was conditional on consent of the Trinidadian Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries to a revised work programme for the Cory Moruga licence proposed by the Company, as well as agreement of MEEI to a revision of future fees for the Cory Moruga licence and a settlement / cancellation of past claimed dues pertaining to the Cory Moruga licence. It was further noted that the parties had agreed to work together to secure the required consents, and thus achieve completion, as soon as reasonably practicable on or before 30 May 2023, with a long stop date of 31 August 2023.

Since March 2023, the parties have worked together as required, and are engaged in a dialogue with MEEI. This is proceeding well, but the conditions for completion of the transaction have not been satisfied as at 30 May 2023. The parties remain confident, however, that appropriate consents and agreement with MEEI will be forthcoming based on dialogue with MEEI. Accordingly, the parties have mutually agreed to an extension of the 30 May 2023 target date for completion of the intended transaction, to coincide with the long-stop date of 31 August 2023.

Nothing to add here, I can just imagine the scene in Trinidad….

i3 Energy

i3 Energy has announced that the time limit for shareholders in Toscana Energy Income Corporation to claim their ordinary shares in the Company from Odyssey Trust Company pursuant to the Company’s acquisition of Toscana by way of a plan of arrangement involving, among others, the Company and Toscana, has now expired.  At the time of expiry, Odyssey held 25,503 ordinary shares in the Company and the Trust Shares on the expiry of the time limit reverted to the Company to be held in treasury in accordance with the terms of the Arrangement.

On 29 May 2023, the Company cancelled the Trust Shares that were held in treasury.  The ordinary shares cancelled represented approximately 0.002% of the issued share capital of the Company.

Following the above cancellation, as at the date of this announcement, the Company has 1,201,874,464 ordinary shares with a nominal value of £0.0001 each in issue.  Shareholders may use this figure of ordinary shares as the denominator by which they are required to notify their interest in, or change their interest in, the Company under the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules.

And finally…

The first test of the summer started at Lords today with England taking on Ireland. As I write England won the toss and Ireland batting first are