Hurricane Energy Finds New Investor to Finance North Sea Exploration


LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - Hurricane Energy has found a new investor in private equity fund manager Kerogen Capital which is injecting 44.1 million pounds ($62 million) into the company for a nearly 30 percent stake, showing some rare appetite in oil deals amid weak prices.

The share placement is also raising another 8 million pounds from existing shareholders Crystal Amber and Marlborough Fund Nominees, whose company ownerships will change to 15.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The placing price of 15 pence per share was a 46.3 percent premium to Friday's closing price.

"(This) places Hurricane in a position to drill, test and evaluate two new wells on Lancaster this year," said Hurricane Chief Executive Robert Trice in a statement, referring to the company's North Sea concession.

Shares in Hurricane were up 29 percent at 0709 GMT, against a 3.2 percent drop in the European oil and gas index.

Hurricane plans to use the funds to finance the drilling of two wells at Lancaster and for general corporate purposes, it said. The first well is expected to be spud early in the third quarter and oil could start flowing in 2019, it added.

Weak oil prices have meant energy buyers and sellers have struggled to agree on asset valuations, bringing deals in the sector to a near standstill.

High costs in the North Sea have also meant exploration has fallen to a 45-year low, making investments in new wells a rarity.

Hurricane also said it was in talks with "several parties" about bringing in a farm-out partner.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Mark Potter)


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