Lansdowne Oil & Gas still mulling options

Lansdowne Oil & Gas — the Dublin-based junior partner in the Barryroe field in the Celtic Sea — has said its current model remains a viable growth option, despite seeing operating losses widen by 32%.

The company last month announced the launch of a strategic review of its business to include every option from a farm-down or sale of certain assets, to a merger or a complete sale of the company. Earlier this week, Lansdowne’s shares tumbled nearly 20% on the back of Providence Resources reporting higher annual losses and effectively giving no meaningful update on a proposed deal with a development partner for the highly-rated Barryroe field, in which Lansdowne is a 20% stakeholder.

Yesterday, the AIM-listed Lansdowne published its 2014 accounts, which showed an operating loss of £1.3m (€1.8m), for 2014; just over 32% higher than the previous year’s losses of £984,000. Pre-tax losses jumped from £1.02m to £1.32m.

No member of Lansdowne’s management was available for comment, yesterday, but the company said in its results statement that continuing with its current strategy and structure remains “a viable option”, although asset disposal, a merger or a total sale of the business are still live options.

Analysts recently saw scope for the company continuing in ‘business-as-usual’ mode as being limited as equity capital raised by Lansdowne in March will largely need to go to paying off a loan next year.

No material update on the strategic review was presented yesterday. However, in the statement, Lansdowne’s management said it intends on taking part in the continuing establishment of the North Celtic Sea Basin as an exploration play.

“The next phase of activity, which requires the successful conclusion of our farm-out processes, will be a new drilling campaign. We remain focused on delivering the programme, starting with a well at Midleton, but it is taking longer than originally anticipated.”

Lansdowne’s share price was relatively stable yesterday, at 6.35p in London.

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