The explorer highlighted that the decision is based on its focus on its portfolio of exploration licences in Atlantic Ireland and its pursuit of new opportunities across the Atlantic seaboard in North Africa and North West Europe.
UKOG holds a 40% interest in the project and the broader PEDL 143 Licence. Europa said that its partner’s direct experience in the successful Horse Hill project will help inform a forward plan for the licence.
FinnCap analyst Jonathan Wright, in a note, said: “This makes sense given UKOG has specific experience in the Weald basin that positions it well to take the work programme forward.
“It also frees up [Europa’s] management time to focus on its Irish acreage farm-outs, UK producing assets and new venture opportunities.”
Wright also noted that FinnCap presently doesn’t ascribe anything to Holmwood in its valuation of Europa following the withdrawal of a planning application for a well last year, though he said the broker previously attached a 2.5p per share value to Europa’s stake in the project.
“With a new, regionally focused operator, Holmwood may yet make a comeback,” the analyst added.
Europa last month brightened the spotlight on its Inishkea exploration targets in the Slyne Basin, offshore Ireland.
The Inishkea gas targets, located in the vicinity of the Corrib gas field, are the company’s primary focus, and the new inventory confirms some 1.5 trillion cubic feet in prospective resources.
A site survey is planned for this year which makes 2020 drilling possible, subject to funding and regulatory approval.
Inishkea is one of three exploration projects that are currently the subject of farm-out processes, to bring in new partners. Talks are ongoing with a major oil and gas company, Europa said.