Fledgling oil firm i3 Energy has said it is ready to take “major steps” in developing its North Sea Liberator field.
The company posted pre-tax losses of £2.9million for its 2017 results, compared to £400,000 the previous year, due to efforts to develop the project.
Liberator, in the outer Moray Firth, is estimated to contain 11.7million barrels of oil.
Production is scheduled to begin next year.
i3 confirmed it has received non-binding terms from UK lenders for an £18.8million credit facility to help fund Liberator.
Last week, i3 secured another North Sea block in the 30th offshore licensing round, extending the field.
i3 holds a 100% working interest in the area, comprised of Liberator and Liberator west.
A larger field development plan is to be submitted to the Oil and Gas Authority, allowing for an “optimised drill centre” for wells to be extended into Liberator West.
An appraisal campaign for Liberator West will be carried out in Q4 of this year.
The company said its focus for the remainder of 2018 will be targeting first oil for Liberator next year.
It is also seeking joint venture partnerships.
CEO Neill Carson said: “2017 has been a year in which solid foundations were laid for the future success of i3 Energy. Our team has deepened its understanding of the high-quality nature of our 100% owned and operated Liberator oil discovery and we remain focused on the advancement of this asset.
“The strong technical underpinning of Liberator combined with the deliverability of the project has attracted investment from private and institutional investors, in addition to drawing meaningful interest from senior lenders and potential joint venture partners.
“We look forward to the remainder of 2018 with excitement as we aim to unlock Liberator’s full potential while seeking out target acquisitions from which we can extract shareholder value.”
The firm, founded in 2014, is named i3 because its directors were formerly involved with other North Sea companies starting with the letter “i” – Ithaca Energy and Iona Energy.