Petroceltic issues positive outlook despite €1.44m loss

PETROCELTIC, the Irish oil and gas exploration specialist, has issued a strongly positive medium-to-long term outlook, despite reporting a loss of $2.1 million (€1.44m) for the first half of this year.

That loss was slightly up on the same period last year — when a loss of $1.9m was reported — due, mainly, to increases in administrative expenses.

Just last week, the Dublin-based firm — which operates in Italy and Northern Africa — announced a significant gas discovery in its Algerian operations, at its AT-1 well. It has plans to drill five wells there in the coming years. The company’s half-year position, according to Davy Stockbrokers’ Job Langbroek, “illustrates huge progress”.

“This has been a transformational period for Petroceltic, with an increased recognition of the underlying value of our assets. Algerian drilling operations are now well underway and initial results confirm the significant commercial potential of the permit. Our objective will be to maintain and exploit the momentum we’ve created,” added Petroceltic’s chief executive, Brian O’Cathain.

Earlier this year, the company said it would be bringing its Tunisian operations forward by a year, to 2010, after agreeing a farm-out deal with Hong Kong-listed exploration firm, PetroAsian Energy Holdings, worth around €10.3m. “Having raised funds at the start of this year, Petroceltic is very well positioned to pursue its current suite of activities,” said Mr Langbroek.

The company added yesterday that as well as continuing work at its Algerian-based assets, and preparing drilling programmes in both Tunisia and Italy, it will pursue other development opportunities “that arise in our area of focus.”

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