Parkmead, the new vehicle for Dana Petroleum creator Tom Cross, has provisionally been awarded six licences comprising interests in 25 offshore blocks across the UK continental shelf.
Mr Cross's arrival at Parkmead two years ago saw its share price rise from 2.5p to 39p in two months, briefly valuing the group at almost £300 million despite it having virtually no assets. Since then acquisitions have been made and the shares, which have traded at between 12p and 22p this year, were unchanged yesterday at 15.75p, valuing Parkmead at £120m.
The group said its applications reflected "ambitious growth plans to build through exploration in its core area of the North Sea and via acquisition at both an asset and corporate level". It has so far won three Central North Sea licences, two West of Shetland, and one large licence spanning 10 blocks in the west of Scotland waters.
It has also applied for pending licences in the Southern North Sea, where it already has operations, and drilled a successful appraisal well through the Platypus gas field this summer.
Mr Cross said: "These awards complete an exceptional year for Parkmead, in which we have secured first production for the group in the Netherlands and also expanded our asset base in the UK North Sea through the acquisition of DEO Petroleum."
Faroe Petroleum has won seven new exploration licences in the 27th round. The four West of Shetland licences include three where Faroe is operator – Grouse Extension, Glenfarclas and Dunvegan – and Ribbon where E.On is operator.
The others are in the Central North Sea, Outer Moray Firth, and Northern North Sea. Graham Stewart, chief executive of Faroe Petroleum, said: "We have secured a number of significant new leads and prospects in a variety of geological settings which complement and further diversify our extensive exploration portfolio. In the meantime we await the results of the two UK exploration wells currently being drilled."
EnQuest, the largest independent producer in the UK North Sea, has won 11 licences from its 14 applications, with two yet to be decided. Amjad Bseisu, chief executive, said: "Having secured so many of the applications, yesterday's successes provide us with a raft of interesting new opportunities for growth."
EnQuest has used acquisitions to build its scale and now employs 1500. Valiant Petroleum has won five licences, three in the Central North Sea and one each in the Northern North Sea and West of Shetland.