Business Irish

Friday 15 December 2017

Circle Oil rumour sends Niche shares up 60pc

Thomas Molloy

CIRCLE Oil founder John McKeon is set to join a London-listed shell company today in a move which could mark Mr McKeon's return to the oil exploration business.

Shares in AIM-listed Niche Group jumped as much as 60pc to 0.6p yesterday on rumours Mr McKeon would join the company as a consultant to identify investment opportunities. The serial entrepreneur bought a 26.7pc stake in the company last month.

Mr McKeon, who is an accountant by training, was one of the founders of Circle Oil along with the late David Hough and Jack Keyes. Circle Oil quickly gained a reputation for working closely with governments in North Africa and the Middle East to develop small oil fields which had been ignored by larger rivals.

Circle's first success was in Tunisa where the company developed a field abandoned years ago by Shell and then later developed fields in Morocco, Oman and Libya where it convinced Colonel Muammar Gadaffi to invest £19m in the company.

McKeon left Circle in September 2008 to found Enex Energy Resources to prospect for oil in Somaliland, a self-governing region seeking independence from Somalia.

Meanwhile, Circle Oil said yesterday it had encountered some oil and gas while drilling in Egypt. The oil and gas had been encountered in a shallow section of the Al-Amir SE-6X well 300km southeast of Cairo in a partially unexplored area of the Gulf of Suez Basin.

Irish Independent

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