Fastnet Oil & Gas plans asset disposal

Dublin-based exploration firm Fastnet Oil & Gas is hopeful of beginning its planned asset disposal programme by the end of next year.

The company — which has its shares listed in Dublin and London — has a basic plan of proving viability at each of its licences in Morocco and Ireland before selling them and directly returning the proceeds to shareholders, most likely via a tender offer.

While Fastnet has one of the largest acreage positions in the Celtic Sea of any independent explorer, initial drilling at any of its licences in Irish waters is not anticipated until around the halfway point of 2015.

Management is, however, still hopeful of selecting a partner to develop its Irish assets before the end of this year. Furthermore, preliminary results from its 3D seismic survey of the Celtic Sea should be available to the company before the end of next month.

Each of Fastnet’s licence assets if found to be containing potentially commercial flows will be sold as individual subsidiaries.

Addressing an investor and analyst meeting in Dublin, yesterday which followed the firm’s formal AGM in London on Tuesday, chairman Cathal Friel said that the first likely asset sale will be late next year via its Foum Assaka prospect, off the coast of Morocco — the farm-out process for which is proceeding well.

The first drilling is set to start in the second quarter of 2014. A first well is due to be drilled, at Fastnet’s onshore Morocco interest — the Tendrara Lakbir prospect — sometime next summer.

Regarding its Celtic Sea assets, the remainder of 2013 will be taken up by 3D processing and interpretation and the completion of the farm-out process, with first drilling not due until sometime in the second quarter of 2015.

In August, on the back of the publication of Fastnet’s first set of annual results as a public company, Mr Friel noted that the key near-term driver of shareholder value would be the Moroccan drilling programme.

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