PetroNeft still eyeing sale of chief licence

PetroNeft still eyeing sale of chief licence
PetroNeft chief executive, Dennis Francis

By Geoff Percival

Irish oil-and-gas exploration company, PetroNeft Resources, remains open to selling part or all of its interest in one of its chief Russian licences, where a fresh drilling round is taking place.

In a brief operating update, the Dublin-based company — which is solely focused, via two licensing blocks, on the Tomsk region of Siberia — said it has commenced drilling at the C-4 well at its Cheremshanskoye field, in its Licence 67 asset. PetroNeft holds a 50% stake in Licence 67 and Licence 61 in the region.

In June, the company said it had agreed terms over the provision of additional funding — mainly needed to pay off a €1.7m loan from Swedish oil producer, Petrogrand — but was also pursuing other funding options, including the sale or farm-out of its share in the Licence 67 asset.

It is understood that the company is still open to selling part, or all, of its 50% stake in the licence.

Last month, PetroNeft repeated that it was examining “a number of options” in relation to maximising value for its shareholders, but that was after noting media speculation surrounding the potential disposal of its stake in the more-developed Licence 61 asset.

The company recently said Cheremshanskoye could “significantly influence the future of the company”.

PetroNeft chief executive, Dennis Francis, said, in the latest update, that the C-4 well “has great potential, as it will test multiple targets up-dip from nearby wells that have already tested oil in the same intervals”.

The drilling is based on fresh seismic data and should take two months.

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