Irish exploration company United Oil and Gas plans to lower its exposure to the UK market as part of a refocusing on its three main geographical areas of interest of Egypt, Italy and Jamaica.
The company, which is headed by former Tullow Oil executives Brian Larkin and Jonathan Leather, is looking to sell its interest in the Wessex Basin suite of licences in Britain, the main elements of which are the offshore Colter field and the onshore Waddock Cross licence. In all, United has a stake of between 10% and 26% across five licences in the Wessex Basin.
“We still like these assets, but in truth we have probably outgrown them,” Mr Larkin – United’s chief executive – told investors this week.
United isn’t fully pulling out of UK waters. It will remain a shareholder in the low-risk Zeta project in the North Sea. However, the company will look to sell part of its current 100% holding in that asset next year.
United’s main focus is on achieving further organic growth in Egypt – where its sole producing asset lies – and generating first gas production in Italy next year.
Earlier this week, the company reported a near 70% increase in average production from its Abu Sennan concession in Egypt, which it acquired last year.
The company is also in discussions with the Jamaican authorities regarding the future development of its licence there.