The exploration company behind failed plans to drill for oil near Leith Hill in the Surrey Hills has announced an annual loss of £2.88m. This is up from a loss of £721,000 in the previous 12 months.
Annual accounts for Europa Oil and Gas Ltd, published by Companies House today, take into account the cost of £1,145,000: the company’s share of obtaining permission to drill at the site at Bury Hill Wood.
The company announced in September 2018 that it was pulling out of the project, in what is known in the industry as the Holmwood prospect. This followed the refusal by the environment secretary, Michael Gove, to renew the lease on Forestry Commission land.
Europa, which first applied for planning permission to drill at Bury Hill Wood in 2008, said it had since re-instated the site.
“The remaining prospectivity of PEDL143 [the licence area of Bury Hill Wood] will now be considered, which, in addition to the established Portland sandstone reservoirs, includes the Kimmeridge Limestone, an emerging play in the Weald Basin.”
The accounts, for the 12 months to 31 July 2018, also cover fallout from a decision on the Wressle site near Scunthorpe, in which Europa has a 30% stake. In January 2018, a planning inspector refused permission for long-term oil production following a public inquiry.
Europa had agreed to sell a 10% stake in Wressle to Upland. But, following the inspector’s refusal, Upland pulled out of the deal and Europa had to pay back the £160,000 deposit.
In 2016, Europa predicted Wressle would begin production in early 2017 and could be delivering 500 barrels of oil per day.
After the end of the 2018 accounting period, North Lincolnshire Council again refused permission for long-term oil production at Wressle. The operator, Egdon Resources, has lodged another appeal.
Oil production sites
Europa operates and owns 100% of two oil producing sites at West Firsby, north of Lincoln, and Crosby Warren, near Scunthorpe. It also has a 65% stake in the producing well, Whisby-4, also near Lincoln, operated by Blackland Park Exploration.
During the accounting period, these sites produced 94 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), Europa said. This is down from 113 boepd in 2017, 123 boepd in 2016 and 141 boepd in 2015.
Despite the fall, the company said the 2018 figures ranked it third for UK onshore oil production, behind the Wytch Farm Group and IGas. It added that initiatives were underway to increase production at Crosby Warren and West Firsby.
Analysis by DrillOrDrop of data from the Oil & Gas Authority for the accounting period shows that Europa produced 0.4% of the UK’s onshore oil from the two sites it operated. Perenco (which operates Wytch Farm) produced 84%, IGas 14%, Petronas (operator of Herriard and Humbly Grove) 1.49% and Blackland Park (operator of the Whisby field) 0.54%.
Europa has 25% interest in PEDL299, known as the Hardstoft field, on the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire border. The company said today:
“we believe that application of modern production testing and drilling methodologies could well lead to commercial oil flowrates”.
The company also has a 35% interest in PEDL343, the Cleveland basin or Cloughton gas discovery, where Third Energy is the operator.
Loss for the year: 2018 £2,888,000; 2017 £721,000
Dividend payment: 2018 nil; 2017 nil
Administrative expenses: 2018 £690,000; 2017 £278,000
Cost of sales: 2018 -£2,759,000; 2017 -£1,496,000
Gross profit: 2018 -£1,411,000; 2017 – £1,496,000
Total assets: 2018 £5,487,000; 2017 £6,691,000
Net liabilities: 2018 -£12,729,000; 2017 -£9,841,000
Revenue: 2018 £1,635,000; 2017 £1,569
Staff costs: 2018 £213,000; 2017 £214,000 (directors’ fees paid by another company in the group)
Number of staff: 2018 4; 2017 4