Lochard Energy has warned it will no longer be a North Sea operator if its licence containing the Thunderball gas discovery lapses.
Alternative Investment Market-listed Lochard has not been able to find the cash or a partner to help it drill a well on the central North Sea discovery.
It said today its lack of cash was a result of funding £5.5million costs of a settlement with Aberdeen-based energy service company Senergy and repaying £3.7million of a £17.3million loan to Gemini Oil and Gas.
Lochard also said it was continuing with a formal sale process and trying to make the business leaner, which would be helped by no longer being an operator in the North Sea.
The firm retains a stake in the Athena field, where production had increased to 11,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of December, including 1,100 barrels to Lochard, as well as interests in non-operated exploration licences.
Clive Carver, non-executive chairman of London-based Lochard, said: “These events mark the final stages in the cleaning up of Lochard’s legacy issues.
“We expect the business will shortly consist of a single producing asset and carried interest in the near-term on some potentially exciting new licences.
“On completion of these changes, we anticipate the path to finding a suitable merger partner under the ongoing formal sale process will become easier and more rewarding for Lochard shareholders.”