Premier Oil insisted this morning that it had not made a “firm decision” whether to bid for Chevron’s North Sea assets.
London-listed Premier was responding to media reports suggesting it was mulling a share placing to help finance a deal for assets worth £1.17 billion.
The firm is vying for the package with the likes of private-equity-backed Chrysaor, Israeli firm Delek Group and petrochemicals giant Ineos, The Sunday Times reported.
To remain in contention, Premier is weighing up a rights issue or a share placing, the report said, citing industry sources.
But a spokeswoman for Premier said: “We will continue to look at opportunities to acquire UK North Sea assets in line with the group’s stated strategy.
“There is no guarantee that the group will bid in any process or that any process will complete.
“Specifically, no firm decision has been taken to bid for all or any of the assets currently being marketed by Chevron and how, in the event that the group were to be successful, the acquisition of such assets would be financed.”
Contrary to media reports, it is understood Premier would not consider selling its Latin American business, which includes interests in Brazil and Mexico.
Shares had dropped 9.25% to 72.1p by 9:45am in London.
Premier, which has a base in Kingswells, Aberdeen, restructured its debts in 2017.
The firm’s finances are gradually improving, but it still has a hefty debt pile.
Last week Premier revealed it had trimmed its net debt by £300 million to £1.8 billion at the end of 2018.
Also last week, Chevron completed the sale of its 40%-operated stake in the Rosebank development, west of Shetland, to Norway’s Equinor.
In July, the California-headquartered giant said it was seeking buyers for its entire central North Sea portfolio.