NORTH Sea focused Independent Oil & Gas is preparing to ramp up exploration activity in the area after lining up £15 million funding from financiers.
The company plans to use the money to drill a well to appraise the Harvey find which it reckons has big potential.
Chief executive Andrew Hockey noted Harvey is estimated to contain up to around 286 billion cubic feet of gas.
The results of the well will be studied closely amid hopes firms like Independent can provide a valuable boost to activity in the North Sea.
Many firms cut investment in the area in response to the slump in the oil price from summer 2014 to early 2016.
London-based Independent is one of a number of relative minnows that are working up prospects that may be too small to excite the majors.
Harvey was found by Arco in 1984.
Independent is in the advanced stages of planning to bring four gas fields in the Southern North Sea into production.
It expects to make a final investment decision (FID) on whether to proceed with the development soon. Mr Hockey noted Harvey could be developed relatively quickly by linking it to facilities planned for those fields.
Independent hopes to start appraisal drilling in December.
“Being fully funded for the Harvey appraisal well, with its excellent risk-return profile, provides a very exciting catalyst for the Company to come soon after FID on the development assets,” said Mr Hockey.
Independent has agreed the terms for a £15m loan facility with London Oil and Gas, with inerest payable at the London Inter-bank Offered rate plus nine per cent.
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