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Petroceltic finds partner for Algeria

OIL and gas exploration company Petroceltic said it was pulling out of Tunisa but added it had found a partner for its Algerian operations.

The company said pre-tax losses had doubled to $12.6m (€8.87) last year, mainly due to the write-off of exploration costs associated with its withdrawal from Tunisia. In Algeria, Petroceltic said it had picked another company to share the costs of exploration and had submitted the name to the authorities for approval.

The shares closed up 10.6pc at 13 cent in Dublin yesterday -- making them the best performing stock on the exchange.

Petroceltic wrote off exploration costs of $7m last year compared with the previous $1.3m. The company ended the year with $82.2m in cash down from $33.7m at the end of 2009. Petroceltic raised $120.5m last April to fund exploration programmes in Algeria and Italy and provide financial flexibility going into 2011.

Chairman Robert Arnott said yesterday that 2010 had been a year of solid progress for Petroceltic despite challenging circumstances.

"The company has put in place the resources to exploit its world-class discovery in Algeria and the underlying strategy and investment case remains strong," he said.

Irish Independent