Petroceltic raises $120m
OIL and gas explorer Petroceltic International says it has raised $120.5m (€93.4m) in a private placement to fund an assessment of the potential of reserves in Algeria and fund drilling in Italy.
The Dublin-based oil and gas explorer will begin a six-well drilling programme in the second half of 2010.
The money came from new and existing shareholders and the placement was oversubscribed. Shareholders include banks JP Morgan and UBS. The new shares were sold at 12.75p (13.9c) each in London.
Petroceltic said earlier this month that it was looking in Egypt, Yemen, Kurdistan and Syria for new opportunities. So far the geographical focus of Petroceltic has been Algeria, Tunisia and Italy. In Algeria the company's finds have helped to drive shares around 400pc higher last year.
"This placing will fund the appraisal programme to optimise development plans for our major discoveries on the Isarene permit in Algeria. It also facilitates the drilling of a further well to determine the quality and extent of the oil discovery on the Elsa field in the Adriatic offshore Italy," said chief executive Brian O'Cathain.
Ahead of activity in Algeria and Italy, Petroceltic is due to carry out a two-well exploration campaign on the Ksar Hadada license onshore Tunisia. Petroceltic and its partners are due to commence drilling in June in Tunisia.
"With funding concerns largely put to bed, momentum should now be with the stock as management executes a six-well programme in three countries in 2010," Davy Stockbrokers analyst Caren Crowley said in a note to investors.
Petroceltic, which has a market value of £186m and is one of the best performers Dublin's IEX and London's Alternative Investment Market, said earlier this month that it is confident it can keep up rapid growth, moving into new territory and drawing in a new partner.
Mr O'Cathain told Reuters this month that his models are Tullow Oil, which has expanded rapidly to become Europe's largest independent oil explorer by market value, and Addax Petroleum.