i3 Energy plc (LON:I3E) has raised gross proceeds of £16mln through an oversubscribed share placing to support a planned multi-well drill programme designed to advance the Liberator North Sea oil field towards production, with drilling slated to start in the area in June.
The AIM-listed independent oil and gas company said 43,243,243 ordinary shares were placed at an issue price of 37p each. The equity raise comes alongside a £24mln loan note funding, announced last month. In late afternoon trading, i3 Energy shares were changing hands at 41p each, down 5.8% on Monday's close.
The group said the placing was supported by existing as well as new shareholders and conducted through an accelerated bookbuild process in which GMP FirstEnergy, Canaccord and WH Ireland acted as joint brokers.
Majid Shafiq, i3 Energy chief executive commented: "Today's placing, alongside our anticipated junior loan facility, allows us to retain a 100% interest in and operatorship of the Liberator field and Serenity prospect and ensures i3 is in a robust and competitive position to deliver substantial shareholder growth as we move into an operationally driven phase.”
“This is a further key milestone that the management team has delivered on and ensures that the drilling of our first three wells remains on track to commence in June 2019 using the Blackford Dolphin drilling rig.”
Shafiq added: "Liberator is a highly material project with attractive production potential and strong growth optionality relative to the size of i3.
“We will continue to pursue joint venture discussions from a position of financial strength with a number of high calibre potential partners as we also progress a senior debt facility that will enable the company to develop Liberator on a 100% basis until such time as we attract a JV farm-out proposal that we believe to be commensurate with the potential of our asset base.”
The placing is taking place in two tranches - the first tranche of 11mln shares executed within existing shareholder permissions, and the second will be conditional on shareholder approval at a general meeting scheduled for 1 April 2019.