Business Irish

Saturday 3 December 2016

Oil prices near 11-year-low as Circle flags possible equity raise in 2016

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 15/12/2015 | 02:30

Oil prices hit an 11-year low. Photo: Bloomberg
Oil prices hit an 11-year low. Photo: Bloomberg

Oil prices neared an 11-year low yesterday on growing fears that the global oil glut would worsen in the months to come in a pricing war between leading OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

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The news came as Irish exploration firm Circle Oil said it may need to raise capital in the new year.

Brent crude fell by 4pc to below $36.40 a barrel for the first time since December 2008, trading just 14 cents above the lows last seen during the 2008 financial crisis of $36.20 a barrel.

If Brent falls below that level, that will be its lowest since mid-2004, a year when oil was beginning its surge from the single digits it hit during the 1998 financial crisis. US West Texas Intermediate sank almost 3pc below $34.60 a barrel. Its financial crisis low was $32.40 in December 2008.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has been pumping near record levels since last year in an attempt to drive higher-cost producers such as US shale firms out of the market.

Meanwhile, stock in Circle Oil fell by about 40pc at one point in London trading yesterday to 2.25p per share after the firm said it is considering a capital raise. The plummet in oil prices has hit the value of Circle's estimated reserves, which are linked to the company's lending facilities and determine how much it is able to borrow.

The Cork-based firm has drawn down $57.5m from a facility provided by International Finance Corporation.

Circle said it expects its borrowing base to be reduced and as a result there will be a moderate shortfall.

It said it is "considering a number of options including a debt restructuring and/or an equity raise to right-size the balance sheet.

"The board is working towards implementing any such transaction(s) by the end of the first quarter of 2016."

Irish Independent

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