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Ithaca Energy on the acquisition trail

Ensco 100 rig
Ensco 100 rig

Ithaca Energy confirmed it was in talks to boost its North Sea portfolio.

Chief executive Les Thomas said the firm was “patiently” conducting discussions to find the right match.

“We want to do more acquisitions in the area,” he said.

“It’s important for us to be patient so we can acquire the right reserves and resource for the right price.”

The company boss said it was targeting prospects both within and out with its Great Stella Area (GSA) hub.

“We think we have gotten the company in decent shape from a cost and sustainability perspective and going forward we can look at other opportunities.”

The company insisted the North Sea was not a “one-pan” deal, highlighting how it has rescued stranded resources by striking a deal to gain access to the export pipeline, Norpipe, for future production and tie-in work. The move reduces “fixed operating costs, enhances operational uptime and improves reserves recovery”.

The company is targeting a transition from tanker loader to pipeline exporter during 2017.

The chief executive also confirmed Greater Stella’s FPF-1 will arrive on site early tomorrow morning. Mooring work will begin immediately and start-up is targeted for November.

The company boss was confident in the firm’s timetables.

“We’re putting risk behind us every day,” he said.

The company’s operating costs are expected to drop to $20 per barrel following first oil from Stella.

Stella will reduce operating costs $30 per barrel to $20 per barrel year-on-year. Stella’s operating costs tally $10 per barrel.

Elsewhere, it increased its stake in the Vorlich discovery to 33% and acquired a 75% operating interest in the Austen discovery. The pair are considered GSA satellite acquisitions, according to the firm.

Ithaca is targeting new field start-ups every two years, starting with Harrier in 2018.

It acquisition strategy centres on low cost entry to existing discoveries, according to the firm.

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