Petroceltic hails H1 'progress' despite deepening losses.

Oil and gas exploration firm Petroceltic International has reported a loss of almost $5m (€3.9m) for the first six months of the year.

The pre-tax loss of $4.979m (€3.861m) compares with a loss of $2.118m (€1.642m) for the same period last year.

"This increase is primarily due to a decrease in finance income of $2.4m (€1.85m) compared to the same period in 2009," the company said in a statement.

Petroceltic said a "significantly oversubscribed" $120m (€93m) placing was completed in April to fund future drilling programmes, and it had cash assets of $108m (€83.6m) at the end of H1.

Revenue for the period to end June was $119m (€92m), down from $125m (€97m) for H1 2009.

However the company said it had demonstrated "solid progress" during the half,

"We have put in place the capital and resources to exploit our world-class discovery in Algeria, and have made good progress in Italy and Tunisia, despite challenging circumstances," said CEO Brian O’Cathain.

"We are focused on the exploitation of our valuable Algerian discovery first and foremost and we remain confident that the appraisal programme for the Ain Tsila gas condensate field, due to start in October 2010, will further de-risk and demonstrate the value of this important asset.

"We are also exploring opportunities to expand our portfolio into areas that exploit our competencies in exploration, deal-making and operating in challenging environments."

Petroceltic is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM Market and the Irish Stock Exchange’s ESM Market. The company has exploration and appraisal assets in Algeria, Tunisia and Italy.

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