Rockhopper Exploration plc (AIM: RKH), the oil and gas company with key interests in the North Falkland Basin and the Greater Mediterranean region, is pleased to announce the disposal of a portfolio of non-core interests onshore Italy to Northern Petroleum Plc (AIM: NOP) (“Northern”).
The transaction is structured as the sale of Rockhopper Civita Limited (“Rockhopper Civita”), a subsidiary company which at completion will hold all of the Petroleum Licences being disposed.
Under the terms of the transaction, Northern will assume all future abandonment and decommissioning liabilities associated with the Petroleum Licences. In consideration, Rockhopper will make a cash payment to Northern at completion of US$1.6 million.
Following completion of the transaction, which is expected by year end 2017 and is subject to standard regulatory approvals in Italy, Rockhopper’s interests in Italy will be focused on the producing Guendalina gas field and the Serra San Bernado exploration permit (which contains the Monte Grosso exploration prospect).
The previously announced international arbitration against the Republic of Italy in relation to the Ombrina Mare project is unaffected by this transaction.
Operational and financial information related to the Petroleum Licences being disposed
The Petroleum Licences comprise:
- Scanzano Concession (100% interest)
- Monte Verdese Concession (60% interest)
- Torrente Celone Concession (50% interest)
- Aglavizza Concession (100% interest)
- Civita Permit (100% interest)
- San Basile Concession (85% interest)
For the year to 31 December 2016, the Civita gas field produced approximately 130 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Revenue and gross profit associated with the Petroleum Licences for the 12 months to 31 December 2016 was €1.1 million and €0.7 million respectively. In accounting terms, the net liabilities of the Petroleum Licences as at 31 December 2016, including the future abandonment and decommissioning provisions, were €5.8 million.
The effective date for the transaction is 1 January 2017 and under the terms of the transaction Rockhopper retains the benefit of a €1.2 million Italian VAT refund which is expected to be received during 2017.
Sam Moody, CEO of Rockhopper, commented:
“Our entry to the Mediterranean has created a strong platform for the growth of the business, bringing cashflow and exploration opportunities such as Monto Grosso. This transaction represents the conclusion of our initiative to streamline our Italian interests, focus on material assets and right-size our cost base.
“Through the Civita gas field, which Rockhopper developed as operator and brought on stream in 2015, we have added material value which allows us to off-set our exposure to future decommissioning liabilities.
“We remain focused on growing our Greater Mediterranean business in 2017 and beyond.”
For further information, please contact:
Rockhopper Exploration plc
Tel: (via Vigo Communications) – 020 7830 9700
Sam Moody – Chief Executive
Fiona MacAulay – Chief Operating Officer
Stewart MacDonald – Chief Financial Officer
Canaccord Genuity Limited (NOMAD and Broker)
Tel: 020 7523 8000
Tel: 020 7830 9700