CANADIAN oil exploration firm Oilexco has opened a data room in London for potential buyers of some of its assets or even the whole company.
Rivals BG Group, Talisman Energy, Petro-Canada and Maersk Oil have all been linked in the media with possibly making bids for the North Sea firm.
Oilexco declined to comment on the data room move yesterday, but a source close to the company said that a sale was just one of a number of options.
Shares in Oilexco closed last night at 38.5p, a fraction of the 52-week high of 964p.
Its shares plunged more than 24% on November 20 after it announced plans to raise up to £100million in debt and sell shares to raise more cash, but added later it had abandoned the proposals. Oilexco also said it had hired Morgan Stanley to advise on strategic alternatives.
The firm said its board cancelled the plan to issue stock and debt because, in the prevailing market conditions, the proposed offering was too dilutive to shareholders and did not reflect the value of its assets.
In October, Oilexco cut its production target by nearly 25% following delays at its UK North Sea operations.
It now expects to reach total output of 35,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the year, or the first quarter of 2009. It had previously said it expected to finish the year producing 45,000bpd.
Oilexco said in October it was reviewing the timing of its development programmes as a result of the North Sea delays, which forced the start of production from the Shelley field to be pushed back to December, and difficult weather. The timing for the first oil from Shelley, in the central North Sea, has been affected by the late arrival of the Sevan Voyager floating production vessel.