Circle Oil to drill across all territories next year

Irish exploration company Circle Oil is targeting drilling activity in all of its territories in 2014, with management promising a very active year.

In an operational update published yesterday, the Limerick-headquartered firm — whose chief assets are spread across northern Africa and the Middle East — communicated positively on all aspects of its portfolio.

Last week, Circle reported it had been awarded a new permit in Tunisia, following a competitive bid process.

The Limerick firm will be the operator of the Grombalia permit and will hold 100% ownership of the licence.

Professor Chris Green, Circle’s chief executive, said the new Tunisian asset “creates further potential for very significant upside”.

In Egypt, Circle said that a fresh find at its NW Gemsa Permit has brought gross production levels to around 11,100 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and 11.8m standard cubic feet per day of gas.

The recent extension to its gas pipeline in Morocco will allow for additional fields to be brought on stream.

In Oman, meanwhile, where Circle is set to drill an exploration well on one of its existing blocks in the first half of 2014, the company has bid for an onshore block and expects to know the outcome of that process early in the new year.

Professor Green said 2014 will be “a very active year, operationally, with substantial drilling activity in all our areas of operation.”

He added that exploration drilling in Morocco; offshore and onshore Tunisia; onshore Oman and development drilling in Egypt will be augmented with work on the new Beni Khalled permit in Tunisia.

In a research note, Investec Securities said that Circle “continues to show growing momentum” and that its latest operational update highlights further evidence of that.

It added that it expects 2014 to be a catalyst-heavy period for the Irish explorer.

Noting the beginning of drilling operations in Morocco in the coming weeks, Investec said that this country and Tunisia offer high-impact potential for Circle.


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