Petroceltic losses increase to €4m

IRISH oil and gas exploration company Petroceltic has seen its first-half pre-tax losses widen to just under $5 million (€3.9m), from just over $2m for the same period last year.

The company has interests in the Mediterranean and Northern Africa.

While the company’s work in Italy has been put on hold until legislation regarding exploration activity has been sorted out in that country, the first half of the year saw ongoing successful development work in the firm’s Tunisian and Algerian assets.

The second half of the year will see an ongoing focus on those territories.

“Algeria is the cornerstone of the Petroceltic investment story and, despite some changing circumstances in other areas of the world, the underlying investment case remains as strong today as it has ever been,” said the company’s chief executive Brian O’Cathain.

In what was a busy day for Irish exploration companies, yesterday, the Limerick-headquartered operator, Circle Oil, reported its first interim operating profit (amounting to $4.6m for the first six months of the year), with management saying the company is well-placed for the future.

Circle’s first-half results also featured a jump in first half revenue from $3.5m to $21.3m and a turnaround from an after-tax loss of $15.9m to a profit of $2.1m.

Meanwhile, Providence Resources has announced that it has started drilling at its Singleton oil field in the south of England.

Chief executive Tony O’Reilly Jnr said that the latest programme should boost daily production rates by more than 40% and allow the company to better assess the impact of new production technologies at the site.

Caren Crowley of Davy Stockbrokers added, in a research note: “Although Singleton does not offer as much high-impact potential as Providence’s exploration assets, a successful result from the current development programme should help establish Providence’s reputation as a good field operator and open up more opportunities for the company.”

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