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Mounting interest in the region as I3 looks for partner on key project  

In recent weeks BP (BP.) announced two substantial discoveries in the North Sea and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) revealed its first investment in the region for nearly six years. A small cap looking to play this renaissance in the UK oil industry is I3 Energy (I3E:AIM).

The AIM-quoted business has two major catalysts on the horizon which could help drive the market valuation upwards from the current £13m.

The first concerns the 100%-owned Liberator project where the
company is in discussions with multiple partners over a joint venture agreement.

This could help meet the $50m costs of getting Liberator to first oil. It could also provide investment to help unlock the potential in several licences on which I3 is currently bidding.

Chief executive officer Neill Carson says a decision on the
award of licences is expected around the end of the first quarter
or early in the second quarter although he admits the timing is somewhat unpredictable.

Carson is effusive about the potential of Liberator which is a low-cost project (it was bought when Brent crude was half the price it is today) and is close to existing infrastructure. (TS)

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