Proactive weekly oil & Gas highlights: Zephyr Energy, Challenger, San Leon, Mosman, Touchstone Explo

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Zephyr Energy Plc (LON:ZPHR) is clear to drill the State 16-2LN-CC well in the Paradox basin project in Utah after securing the final necessary approvals from authorities. It is preparing to spud the appraisal well which is designed to gather important data and establish first production for the company in the Paradox project.

The company anticipates spudding the well in July, in line with previous forecasts. It is presently working to finalise the key project contracts.

Challenger Energy Group PLC (LON:CEG) said hydrocarbons were encountered in the latest section of the Saffron-2 well in Trinidad. Initial interpretation of logs to a depth of 3,530ft had identified a further 42ft of net pay in the lower Middle Cruse, increasing the total of oil-bearing sands thus far identified in the Upper Cruse and Middle Cruse to over 200ft, Challenger said in a statement.

The well reached a depth of 4,126ft, towards a target depth of 4,557ft.

Trading in the shares of San Leon Energy PLC (LON:SLE) was temporarily suspended after the company confirmed a reverse takeover is on the cards. The company is in preliminary discussions with Midwestern Oil and Gas about acquiring Midwestern’s indirect interest in the OML 18 oil and gas block located onshore in Nigeria.

At this stage heads of terms for such a transaction have not been agreed, San Leon told the market. Any transaction would involve San Leon acquiring the outstanding shares not already owned by San Leon from Midwestern Leon Petroleum Limited (MLPL), which it would pay for by issuing shares to MLPL to the extent that MLPL would end up as San Leon’s majority shareholder; this is deemed a reverse takeover under AIM’s rules.

Also this week, San Leon said it intends to increase its stake in Energy Link Infrastructure (ELI), the owner of the Alternative Crude Oil Evacuation System (ACOES) project which is being built to connect the OML 18 asset to a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. The company is conditionally investing US$2mln for 1.323% of ELI with an option to invest a further US$6.5 mln for an additional 4.302% stake. San Leon currently holds a 10% interest in ELI, which will rise to 15.625% if the option is exercised in full.

Mosman Oil and Gas Ltd (LON:MSMN) has upped its interest in the Stanley project by acquiring Nadsoilco LLC in a £1.1mln deal. It is buying the company to increase its stake in Stanley by 20% to 35-39%, from 15-19%. Net production will increase to 60 barrels of oil per day, from the 27 bopd seen in the prior quarter.

The company also gains a 20% working interest in the producing Livingston leases and 23.3% interest in the producing Winters lease, where a development is slated to be drilled.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP, TSE:TXP) has executed a 10-year lease operatorship agreement which sets up a round of drilling to support production in Trinidad. The 10-year extension covers the CO-1, CO-2, WD-4 and WD-8 blocks which span the group’s legacy oil producing properties. It was agreed with national oil company Heritage Petroleum and has an effective date of January 1 2021. It runs to the end of 2030 and was renewed on similar terms to the previous arrangements.

Touchstone now intends to drill one new well on each of the blocks during the second half of this year.

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) told investors that latest analysis of samples from the Merlin-1 well, drilled earlier this year on the North Slope of Alaska, “definitively demonstrates the presence of hydrocarbons”. These latest lab tests were carried out on fluid extracts from selected core samples.

Specifically, the company noted that the analysis comes from 5 of 18 selected trims from side-wall core samples obtained from prospective zones in Merlin-1 which could not be tested by a downhole fluid extraction tool. They also correspond with depths where good oil shows were noted during drilling, it added.

Earlier in the week, on Monday, 88 Energy struck a deal to sell its accumulated tax credits for US$18.7mln (£13.5mln) and it will use the proceeds to clear debt. The Alaska-focussed explorer said it will pay off its outstanding debt, US$16.1mln, and will retain the remaining US$2.6mln of proceeds to boost its cash holdings. It noted that the deal is with a large oil and gas company in the United States with multiple exploration and production assets.

Scirocco Energy PLC (LON:SCIR), on Friday, updated the terms of an investment facility with Prolific Basins LLC, allowing a further US$1mln investment in the company before the end of 2021. It expands an agreement entered into a year ago. Prolific Basins can also invest up to a further US$3mln under the facility.

Providence Resources PLC (LON:PVR), an Irish-based oil and gas explorer, said non-executive chairman Pat Plunkett will step down from the board following an Annual General Meeting on July 22. James Menton, currently senior independent non-executive director, will assume the role of chairman.

Diversified Energy Company PLC (LON:DEC) appointed Teresa Odom as vice president of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance & Sustainability (ESG), a newly created role. The role was created to further accelerate and communicate its progress in what it said was this increasingly important and rapidly changing area. It added that it is investing significant time and resources on its ESG initiatives.

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