WEST of Shetland-focused Hurricane Energy has seen its shares rise around four per cent from a low base after it said it had increased its cash balances by $19 million in the last month in spite of facing big challenges.

Hurricane generated huge excitement after making finds in an under-explored area. However, it suffered big losses after it transpired that these were likely much smaller than had been hoped.

READ MORE: Hopes for West of Shetland boom fade with oil price fall

Last month the company warned that “no value” could be returned to investors from the flagship Lancaster field if it was unable to secure additional funding for its further development.

In an update on trading in 2020 Hurricane said yesterday: “We are currently engaging with our stakeholders on a proposed development plan for Lancaster and its associated funding, in order to maximise the potential value of our assets.”

It did not provide further details of the engagement with stakeholders. These include the holders of $230m bonds issued by the company in 2017.

Hurricane is trying to win the support required to allow it to complete work that could improve the performance of Lancaster against a very challenging backdrop.

The fallout from the coronavirus crisis sent oil prices plunging and frightened investors away from the sector.

However chief executive Antony Maris noted yesterday that Hurricane had benefited from the recent rally in oil prices, which has been encouraged by expectations that effective coronavirus vaccines will be made widely available this year.

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He said: “A continued recovery in oil prices would further enhance the significant value we see in our West of Shetland portfolio.”

Hurricane generated around $180m sales revenues last year, after producing an average 13,900 barrels oil per day from Lancaster.

Its free cash holdings rose to $106m at December 31 from $87m at November 30.

Hurricane produced around 20,000 bopd from Lancaster in March. Production fell after it suffered problems with a well.

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The company’s founding chief executive Robert Trice resigned in June.

Shares in the company closed up 0.1p at 2.73p. They sold for 58p in May 2019.

Centrica-owned Spirit Energy bought in to Hurricane’s acreage in 2018. Centrica is trying to sell Spirit.