Bowleven's plans for drilling push in Cameroon pushed back to 2017

Plans by Edinburgh oil explorer Bowleven to drill appraisal wells on its major prospect off the coast of Cameroon have slipped into next year as the downturn in the sector continues.

Kevin Hart says the delay is disappointing
Kevin Hart says the delay is disappointing

Although chief executive Kevin Hart said the delay was disappointing he stressed that the “upside potential” from the Etinde prospect remains.

Last year, the firm completed a farm-out transaction for Etinde which saw it sell off some of its interests to Lukoil and NewAge in return for a total consideration of about $250 million (£177m).But Hart said that the downturn in the sector did mean potential acquisition opportunities were increasing.

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“Whilst the evaluation of such opportunities is time-consuming, we continue to exert a rigorous screening approach when assessing potential value-creating transactions for shareholders,” he said.

Analysts at Edison said they believed the slippage on drilling appraisal wells would have a “very minor effect” and would enable operator NewAge to take advantage of low rig rates.

Edison believes the current Bowleven share price is broadly supported by the company’s cash position of $100m and that its interests, including Etinde, offer potential upside to long-term investors.