United Oil and Gas eyes Eastern European licences

By Geoff Percival

Irish exploration company United Oil and Gas is eyeing opportunities in Eastern Europe as it looks to grow its licence portfolio.

“We continue to evaluate new opportunities which match our investment criteria as we look to deliver on our objective to expose our shareholders to a growing pipeline of near-term opportunities with significant re-rating potential,” chief executive Brian Larkin told investors at the company’s AGM.

The company has rapidly built a strong international asset base since floating in London last year, picking up shares of licences in the UK, Italy and Jamaica.

Its short-to-medium-term focus will be on gaining new ground in the UK, Eastern Europe, South America, and Africa. The company has not ruled out a long-term look at licence opportunities offshore Ireland either.

Recent drilling at the highly-rated Podere Gallina gas exploration licence in northern Italy — which is 20%-owned by United — proved a success, with a development plan being submitted to the Italian authorities at the end of last month.

Around the same time United was awarded two licensing blocks in the North Sea, with the company becoming the first Irish explorer in a decade to collect in a UK licensing round.

That development brought to three the number of blocks United owns in Britain and includes the Crown oil discovery, which is estimated to contain up to 16m barrels of oil.

“Shareholders can expect more of the same in the year ahead as we work with our partners to bring the commercial gas discovery in Italy into production, drill at least one well in the UK, and de-risk the company-making prospectivity offshore Jamaica,” Mr Larkin said.

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