A busy day today, a number of results and of course the Hunting Capital Markets Day.

As always I will add anything that I glean from the calls/meetings either later or in the next day or two. I am travelling so please bear with me!

Pharos Energy

Pharos has announced its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2023. An analyst conference call will take place at 11.00 BST today

Jann Brown, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

 “The first half of the year has been marked by strong operational performance. In Vietnam, the lateral well drilled on CNV came on production significantly above expectation and this success is now being factored into future development plans. In Egypt, The first exploration well drilled on the NBS concession was successful and efforts are underway to secure approval for production to commence in 4Q this year. An exploration well in a new zone of the main producing asset in Egypt, El Fayum, has also been successful. 

“Vietnam continues to deliver robust revenues and cash flows to support the business and our returns to shareholders. We are progressing the licence extensions through the system enabling us to prolong the lives of these fields. In Egypt, capital is being allocated carefully to reflect the economic situation. In the short term, we continue to be supported by the terms of the deal struck with IPR, with full carry plus the oil price based contingent consideration, the first payment for which we received in June.  Looking to the future, the potential of our Egyptian assets has been enhanced with exploration successes delivered this year. 

“Finally, we were delighted to secure a two-year extension to the term of our exciting frontier exploration position, Blocks 125/126 in Vietnam.  This extension gives us time to bring in the right farm in partner and to complete the necessary work to drill this basin opening play. The size of the prize has company making potential and the risk reward dynamic for investors from drilling is asymmetric. We will pursue drilling on Block 125 as soon as we have secured a partner and a rig.

“The company continues to focus on delivering returns to shareholders through our commitment to a regular dividend, our ongoing share buybacks, and by driving value throughout the portfolio to grow the business.”

Another excellent set of figures from Pharos coming in above market and my own expectations. The strong operating performance was seen across both the company’s geographies, in Vietnam, the lateral on CNV ‘significantly above expectations’ and the assets there continue to deliver strong cash flow that looks after the dividend. The licence extension was good news and at Block 125/126 even better with huge potential there. Indeed from the meeting the optimism around the size of the structure was palpable…

In Egypt the NBS concession exploration well came in and Pharos are looking for production here in Q4 2023 and there was also success on the El Fayum exploration well. The economic situation in Egypt is well known but in my view Pharos is handling it as well as possible covering both the short term difficulties and remaining in there for the long term very well. 

I remain very positive about Pharos, the management is doing a good job and on the ground you couldn’t ask for better operational success rates, overall the recovery is going very well indeed. 

Corporate Highlights                                                                                                                                                        

·      Final dividend for the 2022 financial year of 1p per share, totalling $5.3m, approved by shareholders at the AGM and paid out on 12 July 2023

·      Continuation of $3m share buyback programme announced back in January, with a total of $0.7m spent as at 30 June 2023

·      First contingent payment of $5m from the deal with IPR received

Operational Highlights

·      Group working interest 1H production was 6,915 boepd net (1H 2022: 7,962 boepd) in line with full year guidance

·      Vietnam

–       Production 5,566 boepd net (1H 2022: 5,861 boepd net)

–       Recently drilled well CNV-2PST1 has been strongly contributing to CNV field production

–       TGT Revised Field Development Plan (RFDP) approved by MOIT, drilling rig tender is in progress for 2024 drilling campaign  

–       Applications for five-year extensions to the TGT & CNV licences, including terms and work programme commitments for the extension period, have been agreed by the partners and are currently with PVN for approval

–       Approval received from the Vietnamese Government for the two-year extension to Phase One of the Exploration Period under the Blocks 125 & 126 PSC to 8 November 2025

–       CPR for Block 125 confirms a range of gross unrisked prospective oil resources of between 1,178 MMstb (1U) and 29,785 MMstb (3U) with a Mean value of 13,328 MMstb

·      Egypt

–       Production 1,349 bopd (1H 2022: 2,101 bopd, working interest 100% up to 21 March 2022 )

–       Egypt production has been stable in the first half of the year underpinned by a small development drilling campaign plus a  focus on workovers, recompletions, and water injection to bring low-cost barrels to production and build reservoir energy for future drilling

–       Four development wells and one exploration commitment well were drilled in the El Fayum concession in 1H 2023

–       The first exploration commitment well in the El Fayum Concession encountered oil-bearing reservoirs in the Abu Roash G and Upper Bahariya formations. The well will be tested to confirm deliverability using one of the workover rigs  

–       The first exploration commitment well in the North Beni Suef Concession (NBS-SW1X) was declared a commercial discovery after encountering multiple pay zones in the Abu Roash G formation. The stabilised production test rate pre-frac is 470 bopd (gross). The operator has requested approval from the regulator for the grant of the NBS Development Lease with a view to starting commercial production in 4Q 2023

–       Acquisition of c.130 km2 of additional 3D seismic at NBS is completed and a second well will be drilled this year

Financial Highlights

·      Group revenue $86.2m (1H 2022: $129.6m) with no realised hedging gains or losses (1H 2022: prior to realised hedging losses of $17.3m)

·      Net loss of $14.3m (1H 2022: $54.3m profit), including non-cash impairment charge after tax of $9.8m (1H 2022: impairment reversal after tax $49.2m)

·      Cash generated from operations $43.4m1 (1H 2022: $57.0m)1

·      Operating cash flow $21.3m4  (1H 2022: $27.6m)4

·      Cash operating costs $14.14/bbl2 (1H 2022: $15.82/bbl)2 

·      Cash balances as at 30 June 2023 of $35.9m (30 June 2022: $47.5m)

·      Forecast cash capex for the full year pre-carry is $27.4m (post carry $13.2m), of which $15.4m (post carry $8.3m) had been incurred by 30 June 2023

·      Net debt as at 30 June 2023 of $16.4m2,3 (30 June 2022: $37.9m)2,3

·      Net debt to EBITDAX of 0.31x 2 (1H 2022: 0.51x) 2

1 Stated after realised hedging gain/loss of $nil (1H 2022: loss of $17.3m)

2 See Non-IFRS measures on page 30

3 Includes RBL and National Bank of Egypt working capital drawdown

4 Operating cash flow = Net cash from operating activities, as set out in the Cash Flow Statement


·      2023 full year Group working interest production guidance updated to 6,350 – 6,750 boepd net from 6,050 – 7,500 boepd net

·      Vietnam

–       2023 production guidance narrowed to 5,000 – 5,300 boepd net from 4,700 – 5,700 boepd net

–       TGT RFDP currently with the Government for approval; drilling programme, which includes two wells, expected to commence following approval of the RFDP

–       CNV RFDP to be submitted to partners for approval in 4Q 2023

–       Work ongoing to progress well planning, with discussions ongoing to secure a partner ahead of drilling the commitment well on Block 125

–       Additional independent work is being undertaken by ERCE to extend the review to identify leads and mature these into Prospects

·      Egypt

–       2023 production guidance narrowed to 1,350 – 1,450 bopd net from 1,350 – 1,800 bopd net

–       Additional workover and waterflood projects to be completed in 2H 2023

–       NBS first commitment well targeted to be on production in 4Q 2023

–       Second exploration commitment well on NBS is expected to be drilled this year

·      Net Zero roadmap to be published in 4Q 2023 

PetroTal Corp

As announced on August 8, 2023 the Company is pleased to confirm that a total dividend payment of approximately $23 million, representing US$0.025/share, will be paid on September 15, 2023 to shareholders on record at August 31, 2023.  This equates to a 4.3% quarterly yield (17.2% annualized) based on the current US$0.58/share trading price.  Shareholders should confirm with their brokers to verify their ownership status on August 31, 2023.  The upcoming dividend payment will represent approximately $37 million in total dividends paid in 2023 thus far and is an eligible dividend for the purposes of the Income Tax Act (Canada).  Shareholders outside of Canada should contact their respective brokers or register agents for the appropriate tax election forms regarding this dividend. 

Buyback Status

PetroTal briefly paused its buyback program on August 25, 2023 to allow purchased shares to clear its share registry.  Buybacks have resumed on September 5, 2023 with another scheduled brief pause around the quarter end.  Repurchased shares for July and August 2023 totaled 3,886,822 which equates to approximately $2.3 million in value to shareholders. 

Production Update

Production in July and August 2023 has averaged 11,552 barrels of oil per day (“bopd”) and 12,651 bopd respectively as the Company manages reduced barge movement to/from Brazil during the anticipated low river dry season.  The Company expects to make up the volume shortfall if river levels revert to normal in the fourth quarter, and reiterates its full year guidance range of between 14,000 bopd and 15,000 bopd.

Currently the contracted PetroTal drilling rig is moving to the west part of the Bretana field where the new L2 West platform is expected to be delivered in September.  Crews will work for about a month to complete the installation of the L2 West platform with drilling commencement of well 16H to occur in early November 2023. 

Nothing much to add here, lower production as expected as the dry season means reduced barge movements but August was in line with the whisper. Full year guidance is unchanged at 14-15/- b/d. But you just love this company and what it does for shareholders, dividends are constant and PTAL yields 17% plus add 2% more now the buy-back has resumed.


IOG has provided an operational and corporate update.


·      Blythe H2 well Operating Efficiency was 96.9% in August 2023 (2023 YTD: 94.4%)

·      H2 gas rate declined from 27.7 mmscf/d to 21.2 mmscf/d over the month

 No formation water production

 Initial production data indicates connected gas volumes in line with expectations

·     One-week planned Bacton terminal shutdown successfully completed in early August, resulting in: 

 Production Efficiency for the month of 77.5% (2023 YTD: 82.4%)

 Average gross realised gas rate of 17.8 mmscf/d (2023 YTD: 15.7 mmscf/d)

·     Average realised gas price for August 2023 was 85.1 p/therm (2023 YTD: 107.5 p/therm)

·    Planning underway for a Blythe H1 production trial to assess a sustainable gas rate and associated water rate, with a view to potential low-cost production enhancement


·    Portfolio pre-development work continues to focus primarily on conventional discovered gas opportunities in the Southern and Central Clusters

·   The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has informed the JV that it is not minded to extend the Nailsworth P2342 and P130 licences beyond their current expiry dates

As such, these licences will expire on 30 September 2023 and 31 December 2023 respectively, with no impact on IOG’s net 2P reserves  

 This is likely to impact the commercial potential of licence P039 (Elland)

Nailsworth and Elland are both unconventional (tight gas) fields which have been undergoing technical re-evaluation following the Southwark A2 well


·    Active bondholder discussions on near-term liquidity and longer-term capital structure solutions continue under the current bond waiver which remains in place up to 29 September 2023

·     Cash balance at 31 August 2023 of £14.5m, of which £7.3m is restricted

Rupert Newall, CEO, commented:

“August saw stable production at the Blythe H2 well, with 97% Operating Efficiency and the Bacton shutdown works successfully completed early in the month. However, with H2 production seeing natural decline and realised day-ahead gas prices remaining far below last year’s levels, the Company’s financial position remains challenging. We continue to engage actively with bondholders and their advisors on this under the current waiver to 29 September and will update on further progress as appropriate. 

With the gas winter starting next month, the team are working on options to maximise production while managing costs, including a production trial on the Blythe H1 well. Whilst we are now primarily focused on conventional assets, we have been informed that our request to extend the unconventional Nailsworth licences will not be approved, which is also likely to impact the commerciality of Elland.”

IOG are doing all they can right now and with Nailsworth not up the pecking order for activity I’m sure that they realised that other parts of the portfolio are more prospective whilst elsewhere  discussions with the bondholders are most important. 





·    Gas Prepayment Heads of Terms (“HoT”) agreed with Citic Dicastal subsidiary, DIKA MOROCCO AFRICA (“DMA”), for Q4 gas supplies

·    Prepayment amount of c. $2million planned to be drawn down by 30 September 2023

·    Additional HoT for a larger prepayment transaction to be agreed and planned to be drawn down by early 2024

The Company is pleased to announce that it has entered into a non-binding HoT with DMA, its largest offtaker, to prepay for SDX’s gas deliveries in Morocco. The initial terms of the agreement envisage draw down of c. $2 million by the end of September 2023. These funds are planned to be used towards the drilling costs of the KSR-21 well.

A further heads of terms for a larger prepayment amount is currently under negotiation and is expected to be agreed and funds drawn by early 2024. The Company plans to direct this second prepayment towards funding a further multi-well back-to-back drilling programme. As mentioned in the Company’s announcement of 4 September 2023, this type of back-to-back drilling, which allows development of gas behind pipe (booked reserves), further increases operational efficiency, reduces costs and ensures that immediate and future demand can be met.

The Company also announces that it has drawn down a further $500k from the Convertible Loan, as announced on 27 July 2023.

Daniel Gould, the Managing Director, commented:

“These Heads of Terms testify to the deepening of the long-standing partnership between SDX and DMA, as well as Citic Dicastal more broadly.  SDX has been supplying gas to DMA in Morocco for over five years and is committed to continuing to be a sustainable partner for its energy needs. This partnership is mutually beneficial for SDX, DMA, and supports the growth of industry in Morocco.”

More good work from Jay and Daniel, shareholders will be happy with the pace of change and how SDX is shaping up for the future, I like what I see…

Longboat Energy

Longboat has announced the expansion of its business in SE Asia through the acquisition of privately held Topaz Number One Limited, increasing its working interest in the Production Sharing Contract over Block 2A offshore Sarawak, Malaysia (“Block 2A”) to 52.5%.


·    Topaz’s sole asset is a 15.75% working interest in Block 2A, offshore Sarawak Malaysia, containing the giant ‘Kertang’ prospect

·    Following completion of the transaction, Longboat will hold an operated 52.5% interest in Block 2A, simplifying the process towards a positive well decision and the potential introduction of an additional funding partner prior to drilling

·    The Topaz team, comprised of James Menzies and Pierre Eliet, will join Longboat Energy, bringing extensive regional expertise and an established network, accelerating Longboat’s ambitions to build a full cycle E&P business in SE Asia

·    The transaction consideration closely aligns the Topaz team with value delivery from Block 2A

Helge Hammer, Chief Executive of Longboat Energy, commented:

“We are pleased to have increased our interest in the extensive and prospective Block 2A in deep water Sarawak, which contains the giant Kertang prospect. Sarawak has seen significant exploration success in recent years, and we are excited to play a role in the quest for additional gas resources in the area.

“We welcome James and Pierre to Longboat. Their extensive experience and network from SE Asia combined with our in-house technical expertise, puts us in a strong position to deliver accelerated growth in the region. In parallel with maturing Block 2A towards the drilling decision, we focus on adding production and development assets to our portfolio in SE Asia.”

More of the same from Helge and team and on a massively busy day I hope that Longboat get the reward they deserve. 


Longboat Energy intends to host a presentation via the Investor Meet Company platform.

The online presentation will take place Friday 15 September 2023, 10.00am BST, and is open to all existing and potential shareholders. If you wish to attend the online presentation you should register for the event in advance via this link:



Hunting has provided the following update ahead of its Capital Markets Day that will be held today at 2.00pm BST / 8.00am CST at the London Stock Exchange. 

The Company’s senior management team will set out details of the Hunting 2030 Strategy and how they will drive the evolution of the business, whilst building on the Group’s compelling product, technology and manufacturing platform to deliver strong growth and returns over the rest of the decade.

The Hunting 2030 Strategy is expected to deliver against the following targets: 

·           c.$1.3 billion sales p.a. by 2025 and c.$2 billion p.a. by the end of the decade

·           EBITDA margins of c.15% by 2025 with further progression by 2030

·           c.$325 million of cumulative free cash flow generated by 2025 and greater than $1 billion by 2030

·           ROCE of c.15% by 2025 and further improvement by 2030

·           Net leverage of less than 1.5x through the period to 2030

·           Increasing dividend policy delivering 10%+ growth per annum with potential for additional share buybacks

Management will provide further details that support the 2030 Strategy, including a focus on driving strong cash generation and an updated capital allocation policy aimed at supporting stronger returns.

The Company’s belief in its ability to deliver the Hunting 2030 Strategy is supported by:

·           The Company’s compelling portfolio of IP, leading technology and manufacturing expertise

·           The strength of its blue chip customer base across multiple end markets

·           Long-term term resilience through diversification and growth in energy transition

·           Exposure to high-growth markets, including offshore and international

·           HSE, Quality Assurance and Carbon Ownership driving stronger customer relationships

Hunting is also reiterating its forecasts for 2023 and for 2024:





$96m – $100m

$125m – $135m


10 – 11%

11 – 13%

Free Cash Flow

$30m – $60m

>70% of EBITDA

Jim Johnson, Chief Executive of Hunting, said:

“We are excited to present our focused growth strategy and the ambitious targets associated with it. Hunting’s product portfolio of industry leading, IP protected technology and manufacturing expertise, coupled with the strong market dynamics we can see unfolding, give us confidence in our ability to deliver on our ambitions.

“The evolution of the Group’s strategy is underpinned by our established position as a global manufacturer of world-class precision engineered, high reliability products, trusted client relationships and the diversity of our product applications across multiple end markets. We see the energy transition as a fantastic opportunity to enhance our existing business and enter into high-margin, high-growth sectors that will allow Hunting to prioritise growth and innovation, and service the long-term energy requirements of a changing world. 

“Over the last few years, Hunting has delivered a consistent recovery, during which it optimised its operating footprint, grew sales and enhanced margins, all of which leaves the Company well placed to deliver strong growth and shareholder returns through the remainder of this decade and beyond.”

I’m just back from a very long Capital Markets Day and I had to miss the last bit. I will write up it all in due course but  most importantly I am glad that I have been a huge bull of Hunting for the last year or so. I went one quarter too early after last year’s debacle over market expectations but better early than miss the boat as they say. 

Hunting has changed and this time for real, I expect to be writing about a big momentum move in energy markets but will add to that possible gains from aviation, defence and high tech markets. Hunting, like Thunderbirds are GO…

Star Energy

Star Energy announces its unaudited interim results for the six months to 30 June 2023.

Commenting today Chris Hopkinson, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We have delivered a strong operating performance in the first half with average net production of 2,071 boepd compared to 1,865 in 2022.  We are working hard to reduce our operating costs where possible, in the face of general cost inflation and ever-increasing regulatory overburden.

Maximising returns from our conventional oil and gas business remains a key focus for us, given its free cash generation, particularly with improving commodity prices.  That, coupled with decades of experience of sub-surface analysis, onshore drilling, well management and environmental control from our portfolio will play a key role in our geothermal development.

The global potential for geothermal, as a zero carbon source of energy, is clear.

In the UK we are building a material pipeline of business opportunities in both the private and public sector.  The recently released Government commissioned white paper, produced by the British Geological Survey (BGS) and ARUP, highlights the significant opportunity that exists to decarbonise the NHS estate and we have already won tenders for two NHS Trusts in Manchester and Salisbury.

The recent acquisition in Croatia represents a significant opportunity to accelerate our development and enables us to diversify into geothermal electricity generation. The Croatian Government is highly supportive and the electricity market is liberalised and well established offering an attractive market premium (CfD) for a 12 year period.

This is an important next step in our strategy to transition, over time, into a significant player in the geothermal market and to deliver future value for our shareholders.

With existing production steady at best Star is playing run-off of its hydrocarbon portfolio. With all the chips now placed on geothermal the future has its attractions, if it works then well done, no time to hold your breath though and as they say in all the best racecards, best watched.

Results Summary

Six months to 30 June 2023


Six months to

30 June 2022





Adjusted EBITDA*



Operating cash flow before working capital movements and realised hedges*



Net debt* (excluding capitalised fees)



Cash and cash equivalents



*these are alternative performance measures which are further detailed in the financial review

Corporate & Financial Summary

·    Company rebranding complete.

·    Strategic acquisition of Croatian geothermal development business

 Geological characteristics are well suited for electricity generation with a geothermal gradient proven to be 60% higher than the European average and electricity can be sold bi-laterally throughout the EU.

·    Consistently strong production in H1 2023 offset by lower commodity prices compared to H1 2022. Brent prices averaged $79.8/bbl in H1 2023 compared to $107.6/bbl in H1 2022.

·    Cash balances as at 30 June 2023 were £1.5 million (31 December 2022: £3.1 million) with net debt of £4.0 million (31 December 2022: £6.1 million). We had headroom of US$4.7 million (£3.7 million) under our RBL as at 31 August 2023.

·    Operating cash flow before working capital movements and realised hedges in H1 2023 of £8.5 million (H1 2022: £16.4 million).

·    £4.4 million of net cash capex incurred during six months to 30 June 2023.  Net cash capex for FY 2023 expected to be £10.0 million, primarily relating to our conventional assets including expenditure on near-term incremental projects, our Corringham development, as well as costs related to complying with and reducing the regulatory burden at some of our sites.

·    The Group benefited from its hedging policy with 60,000 bbls hedged in the period at an average of $95.0/bbl resulting in a realised gain of £0.7 million.

·    Profit after tax of £0.5m (H1 2022 £19.4 million) was after deducting a tax charge of £3.7 million (H1 2022 tax credit of £13.2 million). The tax charge relates primarily to non-cash deferred tax. The estimated Energy Profits Levy for the period ended 30 June 2023 is c.£0.9 million which is payable in October 2024.

·    Ring fence tax losses of £259 million.

Operational Summary

·    Net production averaged 2,071 boepd in H1 2023 (H1 2022: 1,865 boepd).

·    Full year net production remains on track. Underlying cash operating costs per boe anticipated to be c.$39.5/boe (based on an average exchange rate of £1:$1.26).

·    Planning permission granted for Glentworth oil project.

·    Corringham site construction nearing completion, securing planning.

·    Awarded two NHS hospital trust geothermal projects in Manchester and Salisbury

 2D seismic survey for Salisbury project planned.

·    Two Government sponsored geothermal reports published, endorsing its potential as a future renewable energy source and highlighting the potential for geothermal in the decarbonisation of the NHS estate.

·    There is no update on the status of the grant funding for the Stoke-on-Trent geothermal project at this time.