"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
Like Providence, Fastnet is looking to play a part in Ireland’s nascent oil industry. And it has interests in three licence blocks in the Celtic Sea.
Prospects in the Celtic Sea have been very much in the spotlight since the Providence led Barryroe project yielded Ireland’s first commercial oil flow rates.
The result dealt the potential oil region a major boost and it has whet investor appetite for other opportunities both in the Celtic Sea and also Ireland’s other offshore basins.
Against this backdrop Fastnet has landed £10 million to fund and develop its pipeline of opportunities.
It has three exploration interests in the Celtic Sea – with licence options in the Fastnet basin, the Molly Malone basin and Mizzen basin.
And it also has an agreement for a net profit bonus related to the Connemara discovery in the Porcupine basin off Ireland’s west coast.
The other focus of interest for investors is in further away shores. Aside from Ireland, the company is also looking to build interests in ‘many areas’ of Africa, says chief executive Steve Staley.
Through his involvement with Cove Energy, Staley has a great insight into building a successful and rewarding African oil business.
Additionally Cove’s chief executive John Craven features among the members of an advisory board that will help Fastnet to source and procure projects.
Craven and his team began building the African business in late 2009 and after just a few years it is now the subject of a £1 billion bidding war between Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, and the national oil company of Thailand.
At the moment Fastnet doesn’t have any African projects but alongside the Celtic Sea assets, North and East Africa are expected to be the firm’s key focus areas.
The company says it will pursue opportunities to capitalise on management's proven track record, technical expertise and contact base.
Indeed, the prospectivity and excitement surrounding oil and gas in Africa was further underlined just today as Cove this morning revealed the latest major discovery offshore Mozambique.
The project operator, Anadarko, believes the series of deep-water discoveries now hold between 30 and 60 trillion cubic feet of gas which acquired concurrently acquired oil business Terra Energy.
"The launch of Fastnet as a new independent E&P player comes at a very opportune time; with interest re-ignited in the Celtic Sea and the prospectivity of many areas of Africa confirmed,” Staley said.
“We feel that Fastnet is in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities in these areas.”
Fastnet joins AIM after a reverse takeover into Sterling Green, formerly a debt and finance advisory company.
Concurrently Fastnet raised £10 million through a share placing, issuing 90.9 million new shares priced at 11p.
Today’s debut prices Fastnet at a notable premium to the placing price, though the Sterling Green shares had previously carried even more speculative value.
On AIM this morning Fastnet shares were changing hands at 13.75p, down 17 per cent on Sterling Green’s previous closing price.